Thursday 5 April 2018

Log for 2018

31st Oct
Lower super taken off #2. Fondant added to a top super in each, with bubble insulation..

26th Oct
Wasps gaining entry to #1 in particular so investigated the bottom super. It was completley empty and very few bees in it. So I removed it and put the hive together again. Noticed that the bees were now defending a lot more effectivly. Having a vacant lower super is obviously not a good idea.I also pushed in the bottom drop boards to reduce behive aromas which wasps will surely home in on.

22nd Sept
Both hives treated with oxalic acid vapour.

17th Sept
Cleaned up frames and 2nd super removed from both colonies.
Hive #1 now 27.2Kg
Hive #2 now 29.8Kg - 2Kg zero error = 27.8Kg

8th Sept
Cleaned up frames removed and extra capped ones added. They are reluctant to uncap them it seems so I did it for them.
In the evening gave them a dose of oxalic acid fumes. Need to do this again later in Sept with 3 staggered doses, 5 days apart. Oct 15th is 1st opportunity.
And also with the super removed so that the bin bag reaches the ground.

4th Sept
Three partially full frames of capped honey put in top supers above crown boards on each hive. 

3rd Sept
On both hives, a single super was positioned beneath the brood chamber, no excluder.
Spare super from #1 taken off for possible extraction. Bees fairly calm about it all. Wasps not a big problem, they'll have plenty of wounded bees to despatch after this exercise. Supers about 70% full.
Hive #1 now 26Kg
Hive #2 now 28Kg - 2Kg zero error = 26Kg

23rd Aug
Inspected #1 hive. Loads of brood, Brood chamber has one frame of honey stores. Two supers about 70% full, (about 20Kg net for both).  Total hive 38Kg .

Inspected #2 hive. Loads of brood, no honey stores at all in brood chamber. One super about 70% full (about 14Kg net) . Total hive 31.5Kg - 2.0Kg = 29.5Kg - not a bad winter start weight.

Drop boards added.

7th Aug
Inspected #1 hive. Plenty of brood and good honey stores forming in brood chamber. Two supers about 60% so left them on. Checked load cell zero - it was -0.6Kg. So actual total weight is 33Kg.

Inspected #2 hive. Plenty of brood but no honey stores in brood chmaber. The two supers are about 40% so combined the best frames into one super and put the second super above the crown board. Hopefully theu will take it down. Checked load cell zero - it was +1.8 so knock 2Kg off all readings. So actual total weight is 31Kg

Inspected nuc, now showing good brood. Ready to be sold I think.

27th July
#Nuc1 (the swarm below that I put into a nuc 7 days ago) inspected. Actually saw the queen, but then there aren't that many bees in there. They've stored the syrup nicely,around a central space for the eggs - but none yet visible. Three central frames well utilised.

20th July
Extracted and bottled about 60lb of honey. Returned a single super to each colony for cleaning. However discovered a 'cluster' on the cabin. No weight drop shows on monitor. No Qcells 3 days ago. Congestion/overheating? Or could it be a outside swarm?

17th July
Inspector Noel Parker called to check the bees. Didn't find any issues and I picked up a lot of information. So nice to work with somebody.
Colony #1 Two supers removed and an empty super added - above the brood box (Noel's suggestion).
Weight dropped from 61.2Kg -> 33.8Kg (27.4Kg)

Colony #2 Two supers removed and a new one added above the brood box again. Plus 3 super frames in the brood box changed out for drawn brood frames. The old frames are on top of the crown board hopefully to be taken down. This colony has plenty of home-building to do now.
Weight change: 56.8Kg -> 34.8Kg (22Kg) - min noted was 17.3Kg

13th July
Top supers taken off after cleaning up. They had capped a lot of cells so they may have stored again. Supers left on clearer boards. Weight drop was 4Kg for each hive.

hive #1 82.6 -> 53.7Kg -> 64.7Kg ->60.9Kg 
hive #2 79.0 -> 49.4Kg -> 60.7Kg -> 57.8Kg  

11th July
Two wet supers placed on each hive, one below the crown board, one above.
New weight changes now
hive #1 82.6 -> 53.7Kg -> 64.7Kg  ie 11Kg of wets 
hive #2 79.0 -> 49.4Kg -> 60.7Kg  ie 11Kg of wets 

36 Kg (79lb) honey removed off both which all ties in nicely with my 35Kg guess
22Kg - 6.5 Kg (2 full dry supers) -> 15.5Kg (34lb) honey returned to hives.

A 4th gallon of mead started, with 4lb reclaimed honey. Initial SG 0.85 but there was a lot of undisolved honey so probably doesn't mean that much.

10th July
Extracted from the 4 supers pulled yesterday. 75lbs of honey - a record for me. But there's probably about another 50lbs left on the two hives. And they may pull in a lot more if the weather contimues hot. Had a delivery of 144 jars today, sadly couldn't wait for the KBKA much cheaper bulk order, which doesn't arive until mid Aug.
My guess of 35Kg (77lb) was very accurate - I didn't bottle  that much but I am returning 3 frames to the bees as they are not capped at all. Would have been nearer 40Kg if I'd spun those 3 frames. Today was 6hrs work - a lot of effort.
Honey this year 195lb -
10th July 75lb
29th June 60lb
26th May 60lb

9th July
Carried out a dawn raid (well, 7:30am) and removed the lower two of the 4 supers from each colony.  Put the supers on two separate stands with clearer boards. Hopefully the bees will be out by tonight.
Lower supers full and about 95% capped, top two supers I would guess at 80% full and 50% capped.
Dripping in sweat even at 8am (me, not the bees - they were surprisingly blasé about their honey loss, I was anticipating them giving me really bad time). So tomorrow looks like being another hard day at the spinning machine.

Weight changes were:
hive #1 82.6 -> 53.7Kg  ie. 28.9Kg
hive #2 79.0 -> 49.4Kg  ie. 29.6Kg

About 35Kg of honey to be bottled at a guess.
Hive #1 - 2 supers off

5th July
5th super with wax cappings taken off hive #1 - weight drop 1.3Kg
Monitor system on hive #2 updated to dual channel A/D input.
They now have 4 supers each.

29th June
Up at 6am to take two supers off each hive. Then into town for a shop and collected the spinner on the way back. Left the two sets of two supers on clearing boards and after 3 hours they had worked to a degree but had to brush some bees off. However my rhombus clearer needs a design change. Result of my day's work was 60 lbs of honey. My estimate was about 100lbs - frames not a clean as they might be and a few I didn't spin as there wasn't much on them. Put one super back on each hive for them to clean/repair/fill. I just hope they don't fill them too quickly. I'll leave it a few days then add another wet super to each.  Weights with one wet super:
#2  51.5 Kg
#3  53.5Kg

28th June
Both colonies pulling in about 5Kg a day so considering doing some extraction. Reluctantly.
Colony #2 probably has 40Kg
Colony #3 probably has 50Kg

26th June
Colony #1 (which is now #3 on the monitoring sysytem so I'll call it colony #3 from now on) now has a 4th super. The weight went from 62Kg to 65.2Kg, so 3.2Kg for the super full of drawn out frames. This lot has increased from 46Kg to 62Kg ie. 16Kg in 6 days.

So 65 - 4x3.2 - 13 = 41Kg bees/honey on the supers. So I would guess 40Kg honey.

Colony #2 is now at 63Kg, up from 49Kg, 14Kg in 12 days.
So 63 - 4x3.2 - 18 = 32Kg bees/honey on the supers. Another 30Kg honey?

Whatever happened to the June gap?
I'm now out of supers.

17th June
Colony #1 inspected. No Q cells, lots of brood/larvae. Quite agressive so did not linger. Rotated hive 90 degrees for better Cabin viewing. Weight without supers was 13Kg, with 3 supers 46Kg.

14th June
Checked the nuc colony and now there are plenty of brood/larvae. I have a buyer for this colony, for collection next Wed, 20th
Colony #2 inspected. No Q cells, plenty of brood. Far frame wchich was a sper frame is a bit of a mess, nees removing as soon as the brood hatches out, hopefully they won't lay more eggs in it. Weight with supers removed was 18Kg, with 4 supers 49Kg. So about 25Kg honey on supers, overall half full.
Now boxed up with 4 supers. Should keep them busy enough.

12th June
 A mound of paper and no dead bees - so the merger seems to have gone well. Removed the top brood box and added a fairly full super and put the combined #3 on the monitor plinth. From now on I'll refer to it as colony #1. Took the oppotunity to calibrate the zero and FS (with a 23Kg bag of sand). So it now has 3 supers and a total weight of 42Kg. Hopefully I can let them get on with things now.

11th June
Colony #1 still has no sign of a queen so it has been combined with #3.

7th June
Nuc colony inspected, pleanty of eggs but no larvae. Can't understand that. Will  leave a week then possibly recombine if no progress.

5th June
The full super was taken off hive #2 - concerned it may solidify. As an experiment I removed the capping and put the frames upside down in a plastic box to drain. I was trying to avoid another spinner exercise. The temperature rose to 39C and the honey drained well, but only about a third was harvested. For some reason it was retained by the cells. So had to give the bees the frames back to clean up. Not an experiment to repeat, but worth trying.  This colony now has 3 supers, plus one to clean up.

2nd June
Inspected colony #1 - no eggs! One queen cell had been vacated, probaly the one I left so there's still hope. I estimeate she emerged on 24th May, 9 days ago, I'll inspect in another week
Inspected the swarm in the Nuc - eggs, no larvae so the queen is a virgin no more! But they have a lot of work to do to get a viable colony going so will leave them to it for a few weeks.

1st June
Cleaned up frames taken off  colony #3. Brood inspected: no Qcells, plenty of eggs and brood/larvae. Two frames still to be drawn out. 1st super about 60% full, 2nd super added.  A plate of cappings added above crown board. A strong colony, and not agressive.

Cleaned up frames taken off colony #2. Brood inspected: Eggs/larvae/brood, no Qcells. The 3 super frames were moved to the end and replaced by frames that need pulling - hope they can cope. Really need to get rid of the super frames in the brood chamber. Super #1 about 95% full & capped, #2 about 60%. Added a 3rd super. A plate of cappings added above crown board. Now a strong colony, and not agressive.

Swarm Nuc not inspected at this time. Now 17 days since captured so will check them in a few days.

31st May
Cleaded up frames taken off colony #1 and a plate of cappings added above crown board. No inspection yet but as the split was 10th May (3 weeks ago) and Q cells noted 23rd May (8 days ago). I may go in shortly, in a few days when the cappings have been cleaned.

26th May
Honey spun off 4 supers and a few brood frames. Must find a better way of dealing with the brood frames. 60 lbs of honey. Wet supers distributed between hives 1,2,3.

24th May
Surprise, surprise, hive #1 swarmed at around 2pm. Alerted to them by the 'horse-girl' in field at bottom. Was mowing the grass and heard her phoning someone about a 'black blob' on the fence and was concerned for the horses. An easy capture, straight into a nuc and I gave the girl a jar of honey for her troubles! They seem to have swarmed with a virgin queen! It was a queenless colony making Qcells when I looked on Wed so I let them get on with it. Went in later to reduce the queen cells to one.

23rd May
Been away on holiday so 1st inspection for almost two weeks.
Hive #2 has been pulling in 2Kg the last few days so expected queen cells - but not a sign. They are still building up the brood chamber after a slow start. The two supers are about 80% full, no cappings, so put them back. Brood, lavae and a eggs so check again in a week.
Hive #1 is the split wher I think I put the queen. However I got it wrong, there are no larvae or eggs just an awful lot of honey. There are a few queen cells so they are obviously trying to compensate for my bad bee-keeping by making a new queen. Remove two brood frames of honey and two supers of mainly capped honey. Gave them an empty super. In spite of loosing the queen they have been pulling in over 2Kg a day in the recent fine weather.
Hive #3 is the other half of the split and this I now know is where the queen ended up. Larvae & a few eggs, plus brood. The brood chamber is a bit messy, no regular patterns. Removed one super.

So I got the split wrong, however as I wasn't sure, I left eggs in both boxes so the bees could sort out my mess - which they seem to be doing.

10th May
Hive #1 pulling in over 2Kg a day over last 4 days so went in fully expecting queen cells and prepared for a split. I was right. Moved the hive to one side and put a new box on original site to take the queen. However I couldn't find her. Decided to resort to a logical sort of frames. covered the central two and removed frames from both sides to drive the queen into the dark. Then moved the central two frames into the new box. And put one super on each (supers very heavy). No idea if the queen is now in the new box and on reflection should have gone for plan B, except that I' didn't have a plan B. A day later all the flying bees are on the original site and the old hive is deathly quiet. I'll just have to let them get on with it and hope.
Hive #2 has been pulling in about 0.5Kg a day and has a lot of chamber building to do so didn't expect any queen cells. Right again. So boxed them up and hopefully they will expand, they are still a weak colony so not expecting trouble from that quarter for a month if at all.

3rd May
Both hives inspected, all looks good, eggs, larvae, brood (M&F). And for the first time I saw not one but both queens! Maybe now I have my eye in I'll see them again. Both colonies very placid - warm clam weather probably a factor. No sign of queen cells. Colony #1 very much stronger than #1, which has a lot of work to do on the brood chamber frames. 1st super on each has honey and the 2nd super centre frames are starting to be worked.

26th April
Hive #1 inspected. Good brood & larvae. Stores going into 1st super so added a second. Feeder removed. Plenty of bees, could be in swarm mode in a week or two.
Hive #2 inspected. A much weaker colony but looking good. Brood has 3 sper frames one on which has been nicely extended down. New broom frame inserted into brood area. One super removed. Some stores going into super so added a 2nd but it will be several weeks before they need it.  

17th April
Both hives given a pint of syrop to tide them over a current cool spell.
#1 had fondant left but hadn't taken much so I removed it.

5th April
First inspection since last September, all of 6 months ago. Today is the first summer-like day this year so an opportunity not to be missed.

Hive #1 - this had a super of stores below a brood chamber. Super now almost empty and 2/3 full frams of stores in brood chamber. Eggs/larvae and brood in the main chamber. Two full frames replaced by empty frames and an empty super put of top. Back to a configuration I'm happier with. Plenty of bees in there and a lot of pollen being stashed away.

Hive #2 - this was a brood and a half with a super above. Inspection revealed brood  and larvae in the supper but very little of much in the brood chamber. the 4 super frames with the 'nest' were moved into the brood chamber together with some food frames and empty frame. Super with 2/3 frames of partial food put on top. About half the strength of  #1.

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