Tag Archives: 2015

Hive switching!

Last summer I picked up a swarm during the summer and popped it into a jumbo langstroth Modern Beekeeping poly nuc.  The swarm had gone into a compost bin in a back garden of a woman who really didn’t want them there, but they moved quickly up into the body of the poly nuc (with a bit of encouragement / smoke).

With obligatory gaffer tape!

With obligatory gaffer tape!

The polynuc is a jumbo langstroth.  One end is boxed in, so that the commercial frames fit with the right beespace (except at the bottom).  They do seem to be good polynuc’s, the sides and the lid seem quite thick.

One end blanked off to get a commercial frame fit

One end blanked off to get a commercial frame fit

In the summer rush they got a bit ignored, with infrequent checks and a lack of anywhere else to put them.  However I’ve made sure they had fondant on the top and they have really thrived and seem to have come out of the winter strong.  This was them back in early Feb, making the most of a day with some sunshine.

Cleansing flights in Feb

Cleansing flights in Feb

So, on Friday I had a day off and decided it was time to move them into one of the now vacant hives that had died out over the winter (hive D1).  The hive got a flame out (it’s wooden not poly!) and they were moved over very quickly.

It was a lovely day here and so after popping the new hive on the site of the polynuc, it was a five-minute job to move the frames across.  Not an angry bee in sight, all the flying bees went to the old site with the new hive and the ones in the nuc stayed calm as I moved them across.

Confused bees!

Confused bees!

Just a bit of extra activity in front of the hive as they get used to their new home.  Fingers crossed they’ll build up well for later in the year.

After a cold and wet Saturday morning the afternoon turned out to be sunny and warm and was spent with the Peterborough and District Beekeepers spring course attendees.  It was the last week of the course and they were able to get into and inspect some hives in pairs.   The bees were well behaved and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

I hope and think quite a few will look to go on and keep bees.

David

Ross rounds, initial views

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I’ve buckled!  I’d been looking at them for some time but the price had put me off.  Finally though, I’ve bought a Ross round section super for use after the oil seed rape is over.

I bought it from Mann Lake, it was about £84 (I ordered some MAQS at the same time to benefit from free postage).  The cost from Thornes would have been £130.  However, as I found out later (although if I had read the details it was there!), it wasn’t quite a 1-1 comparison.  The Thorne’s version has 40 rounds, whilst the Mann Lake one has 32.  Even so, the Mann Lake one is about 20% cheaper on a round for round basis.

There are 8 of the frames, which as you can see come apart to allow the insertion of the rings and the foundation.  I’ve inserted the rings that came with it and stored away the covers.  The rings sit snuggly inside the frames, as can be seen below:

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When I fit foundation, this will go between the two halves of the frames and the rings.  So then one ring will be on each side.  The idea then is that the bees build out comb on either side and once capped off I can take out the comb and the rings, trim back the foundation and put a cover on top and bottom.  Tape around the side and then it should be a case of labelling and selling.

The big challenge I have with all of this is that you end up selling the rings and covers with the honey. It should make for a nice presentation, however it does make it quite costly.  Before you factor in the cost of the super I’m estimating that the packaging alone comes in at just about £1.05 for each section.

First impressions are that the frames look well made.  The super looks quite basic, OK, but not finely finished.  I think from the photo that the Thornes one would probably be better finished, but the sections will taste the same!  I’m also surprised that the springs seem to protrude below the super. I need to see how it all goes together when I have it on a hive.

I’ve ordered more rings, covers and also foundation from CirComb, based up in Dundee.  They seem good value, and arrived quickly.

Update

I’ve had a quick look at the size of the foundation, and it looks to be shorter, and also quite a lot wider than national super sized foundation.

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David

 

The cruelty of winter

Flat and windyToo exposed for bees over winter?

The other day was the first chance I had had in about a month to get up to the apiaries and check out all of the hives, make sure they all had stores etc.

The overall count going into the winter was 11 hives, split over three different sites.

Unfortunately I’ve lost three over the winter, my first winter losses.  I need to go through and confirm why, but from a first look it appears to be isolation starvation.  All three losses were from one particular site and so now I am putting it down to beekeeper error.

There is a saying that cold doesn’t kill bees, but that moisture does. In this case though I think the site (too exposed in hindsight) meant that they were stuck, cold, in a cluster, close to food but unable to get to it.

The next night we moved the hives around so they are all less exposed.

Hopefully spring will kick in soon and then we can get back to building colonies and raising strong healthy bees.

David