Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Out with the old, in with the new

Hello readers,

My friend is infected!  He's signed up for a beekeeping course (the same one I'm taking - but I'm taking two this year).  He's working on my hive boxes and I've delivered him some wood to work with.  It's 8 mm ply wood that he'll fix some insulation material to and then work on an outer shell if needed.  We'll see what he comes up with as I have given him one of my Zander hive bodies as an example to work with. (Observation window and all)

But let's not get ahead of ourselves and do first things first:

Weather Report:  

It still hasn't been really winter like I've seen winter before here in Belgium.  At night we had some temperatures touching the 0°C but never long below that. And I must say it's wet weather, but we've had some nice (although cold) days too.

Hive Report:

Making some video clips I posted a YouTube video, so lets put that up first.  Images say more than words.  I did a voice over in this clip on YouTube since the background noise was nothing but cars on the highway, but I don't really have a lot to say, other than: I saw bees!  The clip was shot on november 14th for my first apiary and november 13th (the day before) on my 2nd apiary.

Apiary One:

I do really see a difference between the Simplex Nuc SS 1 2018 (I still haven't picked another name, but I'm working on it making plans for the year to come) and the split I made out of it; The SS 2 2018.  The split hive catches some sun where the mother hive stays in the shade.  It is my belief this is the reason when it is sunny out and the temperature reaches 10°C or thereabouts the bees on the split do go out and the bees in the motherhive don't.

Till today, 09th januari 2019, the buzzbox app tells me both hives are alive.  I dare not disturb them when it's below 10°C.  I don't even look through the windows!

Apiary two:

The video is rather clear on that.  The first hive you see on that stand is the booming 6-frame nuc I got out of the wall in Anzegem.  But I don't know what queen is in there, one they made from my Buckfast bees, or a Carnica?  The second nuc shows some, but not nearly as much activity, and I only saw the one bee leave the TO2 hive at that time.
Allas the situation did not improve for that TO2 hive.  I'm afraid I've lost them...

For now I'll keep it at that, but I'll be back with another winter update, since I have some clips, or should have if I can find them, laying around with a similar look on the hives, but no activity.  I'll wrap it up here since it's past midnight and I'm practicly falling asleep

 Bob Out

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

End of Season cleanup, part 2

Hello readers,

To follow up on my last post I put together another out of sync video that's coming live as I write this blog post.

Here you'll see me go into a hive I bought from a neighbour who's allergic to bees now and doesn't want to take any chances.  He put up his hives for sale and I bought them. 
I should've known better and this is going to be the last time I buy bees from anybody.  Swarms for the win!!

Weather Report:

Winter finaly is upon us.  We had some frost overnight and it's raining a lot.  There have been days with temperatures over 10°C.

Hive Report: 

Nothing much to report on the hives,  I saw some activity near the hives on slightly warmer days.  I recon it's cleaning flights.  And I'm sure there's bees in all my hives still.  I'm still not certain they'll make winter though...  We'll see.

To give you some final words I can say I've been mapping out what to do in 2019.  To say the least I have a ton to do before the spring comes.  Making hives is one of them, looking for a 3rd place to put bees is another.

I'll give a look into my plans in next blogpost!

Bob Out

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

End of Season cleanup, part 1.

Hello readers,

First off: excuses... 

I've been putting the effort in to get my video content out, even if it's a bit out of chronological order.  As a result the apiary does no longer look like it's building up in a logical order.  I hope you forgive me since it has been busy and filming wasn't on the top of my to do list.

To point this out a link to a video from july 2nd:

Second on my list: intro

I've, again, attended a meeting from the Mandelbie.  This time we had one speaker who walked us through his year of beekeeping.  Nothing new, but bits and bobs he uses from other beekeeper methods.  The main chunk of it was a bio-technical method of outsmarting the Varroa mite, called the combination methode.

I'm not going to repeat the entire process here, but will provide a link (to a flemish website) where the method is talked about: Click Here

The jest of it is you limit the space the queen gets to lay in.  Then you remove all brood from that limmited area bar one frame of open brood (to lure all varroa in) and place the removed frames in another apiary where you allow a 'high' mite count. (to avoid recontammination)  Only 1/3 of the bees on the brood frames is transported with them.  (Since a lot of it should be closed brood about to hatch, the low amount of bees suffices)
The idea is you draw most of the mites into that one frame of brood and remove it after 7 days.  The queen is limmited further to 3 or 4 frames during that time.  Removing the frame (with closed brood) after a week is repeated the week after that. Upon removing the second time the queen is allowed to expand her brood nest again.
All removed frames can be added to the box in the apiary you moved the original brood frames to, or be destroyed - depending on whether you want to 'treat' for mites in that hive (either with or without the use of chemicals)  You could freeze the frames to do a mite count and see how many you actually had to begin with...

It was a very interesting method and preffered to any other that uses substances if you ask me, but I'm a new beekeeper that has set his mind to the 'bond' methode. (aka live and let die).

I also got to interact with some beekeepers there and was mostly charmed by Dael Joost, who is keeping 24 hives (a lot of them are nucs) with all local stock.  He does admit they are very assertive and not gentle to work with, so I won't be begging him for queens or bees, but I am interested in his methods and might poke my fingers further up his nose to see what I can dig up there that I might want to use.  I briefly mentioned I wanted to get into queen rearing myself using the Hopkins methode and he was interested in that aswell.

Weather Report:

It should have started getting colder since my last post, but it actually is still warm.  The bees are still very active and dragging in pollen!  We've had very nice days flirting with the 20°C
As for rain we maybe had a 6-ish amount of days where some water fell out of the sky, but nothing out of the ordenary.  I can say there are still wasps around too and even Asian hornets in my area!

Hive Report - a state of things :

Apiary 1:

Simplex Nuc: I must say, this hive is not really a nuc so I should change the name of this hive to a better suited one... provided this one makes it through winter!  But it's the first nuc I got, so we'll stick with it for now.
A state of this hive: It's on 3 Zander Deeps, one of which is not used by the bees (bottom one with buzzbox attached).  Through the window I can see the bees are concentrated in the top box, but the middle box has some drawn out comb. And during the day I can spot some bees on that comb.  I did spot a wax moth on there once but the bees took care of it (must be, since I don't see any evidence of the moth anymore and it has been a couple of days now).
I gave this hive a sugar cake (I got from the beekeeper that has stopped his beekeeping activities due to allergies) twice since my last report (last one was on monday 15th october) The first one was eaten over the course of 3 days.
I also insulated the hive cover a bit more and am ready to let this hive go through winter.  I might spy through the windows now and again and come back with an update, but not sure if or when that'll be.
Looking at the hive entrance shows good activity and I can say they bring in a good amount of pollen (yellow mostly)

SS 1 2018: This hive is on 2 Zander Deeps, but really, the bees are only in the top box.  The bottom box also has a buzzbox mounted to it, so I'll leave it on 2 deeps through winter.  The top box only has 9 frames built out, the 10'th frame is a filler.  6 of those 9 frames are not Zander size but simplex size.
I also added a sugar cake on top of this hive on monday the 15th of october.
As the weather is still good this hive shows about the same activity as the Simplex Nuc, if not more! 

You can see a flashback video of how it came to be here (video live 23/10/2018):

I ended up removing the middle deep, And added some bees later on - you can read up on that in the hive report from 12 august 2018!!

Apiary 2:

I went back to this apiary to take care of the long grass around the hive stand.  I've cut it down (wearing a bee suit) and now it looks all tidy again!

TO 1 2018: This hive is in a 6 frame nuc polystyrene, packed with bees.  I have not opened this hive since putting the queen cups in there on the 19th of may 2018!!  I was tempted to open this hive up more than once but never did it.  I'll leave them be till 2019!
I do have a good feeling about this hive since it's packed with bees and has shown good activity on all of my visits to the apiary.

TO 2 2018: This hive is in a 2 Zander Deep configuration and it has me worried.  After cutting up the grass around it I spotted there was almost no activity here.  I kept looking for about 10 minutes and only saw 1 bee go in, and none came out.  I decided to give it a quick peek under the lid and spotted only 3 frames with bees on them.  I closed the hive back up without doing a full inspection, but I'm half expecting this hive to collapse before the winter even starts.  I'm not even sure if the bees I spotted in there were robbing it or living in it...  Next spring will tell us I guess.  I was really hoping this hive would be booming! You can see me prepare this hive in this video (live 16 october 2018)
The beginning of the video is a bit noisy, but that's only the first bit, so hang in there!

SD 1 2018: Is also in a 6 frame nuc polystyrene, good activity but not packed like the TO 1 2018 is.  Near the evenings you can only see some watchers hanging out, where the TO 1 2018 has bees hanging out of it!  I'm surprised they didn't swarm yet!

That was it for the hive report.

To Do List

As you can see in this post I worked a bit towards my first point from last blogpost; Putting out video content.  As for point 2...  I did feed the sugar cakes to my bees, and I had half a mind set to make more, but then I had to pinch myself in the arm not to pamper my bees.  Bond!  As for the handy man that needs to make me a box to start the queen rearing, I think I'll give him more work to do than just that!  But I'll keep that for another topic in my part 2 of the end of season cleanup.  I hope to give you a couple of scenario's and lay out my plans according to those scenario's.
My actual to do list:

  1. Ad a part 2 of the end of season cleanup! I would like to put up another blog post, hopefully very soon, where I'll link a video where I spot wasps on my JH-hives and how I inspected them (and lost them). - I also want to include my plans for the spring.
  2. Get to work with my friend to set him and me up for next season.

That's all folks!

Bob Out

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Friday 21 sep 2018

Hello readers,

Today I've been to a meating of the local beekeepers club at Roeselare, called 'de mandelbie'.
It was a round of questions collected over a period of time answered by a pannel, or any member present to be fair.

There was a friendly atmosphere and I was pleased to find at least one beekeeper admitting to be treatment free in front of the entire group.  The consensus in the entire group remained he was a lucky exception on the rule and others should keep treating.  Theory crafting went on a bit on why he was able to sustain his apiary with 9 hives and only 2 losses over a period of 5 years.  And one voice offered that his local weather kept his bees from producing a large brood chamber, and thus kept the varroa at a minimum.  Soon another voice pitched in, not yet accusing, but still offering the idea he was spreading varroa distructor to nearby hives.  Another voice came up with the idea other pollinators also had varroa - and I thought but didn't give voice to my thoughts, that as long as the beekeeping comunity doesn't treat at the exact same time with the exact same methods/products it doesn't matter anyway - and thus re-infecion was going to happen anyway.

The topic was closed soon after and other topics were adressed.  If you're a beekeeper I'm sure you can picture the conversation; A questions was asked, and ten, if not more different ways to offer a sollution to the problem were offered.  One beekeeper in particular was very loud and sure of his ways but I doubt he got a lot of foothold with the others in the room that voiced different oppinions.

All in all it was a nice first time experience for me and I can't say I learnt much, or anything at all. Time flew by (the event started at 7:30 pm and was ended at 10:40!)  At the very least I got to talk to the members and the board of the association and pass along my information (Since when paying for my membership and sending out emails didn't result in any replies - the email adress I found and used for the secretary of the club was outdated and no longer in use.)
I also received the local 'magazine' and have yet to dive in.

On to the

Weather Report:

My last weather report dates from september 4th.  I'm not planning on covering every day from there on to this one but to summarize, the days are growing short, and the temperatures are dropping accordingly.  Last weak we had a small hiccup where the mercury rised again till about 25°C but all in all we had around 20°C max and around 10°C low. Exceptions here and there (during the night) might have occurred.  The amount of showers started rising slowly, very slowly.  There were about
4 days where I can recall rain.  The 5th, 7th and 12th of september only had low amounts of water falling out of the sky, today however we had a good amount of rain during the morning.

Hive Report: 

As the days are growing shorter and winter is creeping closer there is less and less I'm inclined to do.  I did ponder on opening a hive to see how it was doing, but decided against it.

Across all my hives I noticed the same: good pollen coming in, colours ranging from orange through yellow to almost white.

At my stand at home with the: Simplex Nuc and The SS 1 2018 I can say the bees aren't expanding, nor decreasing in number of frames they occupy (spotted through watching via the windows in the back of my hives)  As I put this up here I remembered that I filmed my SS 1 2018 and posted the video on youtube!  I'll put it underneath here for you to see, if you so desire.  It's a long video with nothing more than the activity near the hive enterance.  Enjoy, or skip, whatever you like!

At my 2nd stand I have seen good activity, but I didn't check on them as frequently as I do with the hives in my own back yard.  I did notice the vegetation is growing underneath and around the hives, so I'm going to have to remedy that.  Walking around the hive didn't cause any problems, but then I stayed a while to see what was going on in front of the hives and got chased off.  I walked away, waited a bit and went back in with my phone in hand to film the action.  The result is in the video below, a very shaky video with some cool close ups of my beard hairs.  I thought it was funny so posted it on YouTube even though it doesn't make much sense.

So in the video you can spot, furthest away, the TO 2 2018;  Next to that is the 6-frame SD 2018, next to that an empty simplex deep and then the other 6 frame TO 1 2018.  Even closer but not in view at the beginning of the video is a three deep simplex hive that is empty.

That's about all there is to say in the hive report!  Let's hope the nasty mood is only that and not an attitude that'll continue into 2019.

Swarm Calls:

I may have said this before, but I'll say it again: I've put up my number for swarm calls and I can't  believe how many people don't know the difference between bumble bees, honey bees or even wasps.  In Belgium the local fire department is in charge of exterminating wasps.  This year they had so many calls I think they grew tired of doing so.  This one call I got isn't the first, and I doubt it'll be the last I get from people that were referred to me (or a beekeeper in general) by the fire department without them checking at the location what insect resides there.  Usually it's how they ask the caller stuff that causes them to refer them in the first place.  Let me give an example of a call to the emergency dispatch or the local fire department :

Operator: Fire department here, what's the issue.
Caller: I have wasps or something on my property.
Operator: Ok, and where do you live, where are those insects please?
Caller: gives adres (it's needed by the operator to fill out a form after a call)
Operator: Ok, now are you sure it's wasps?
Caller: Well, I don't know...
Operator: Are they brownish?
Caller: (thinking they have to say yes to get the firemen to do their job, instead of speaking the truth) Oh, eh, yes, it's hard to see, but I think so.
Operator: Well, if it's a darker colour, it's (honey) bees, you'll need to call a beekeeper.  The fire department can't exterminate bees, not even if they are bothering you ... they're a protected species.
Caller: Oh ah, I see...
Operator: have you got something to write a number down, I'm going to give you the number / or I'll give your details to a beekeeper and ask them to come over to take a look.
Caller: Thank you! (calls or awaits the arrival/call of the beekeeper)

In the best case, the beekeeper gets more details and can prevent driving out there for nothing.

Some pictures I took trying to find out for myself what I had on my hands on a roof here:

Now it might be just me but given the time of year I think it's safer to assume you don't have honey bees on your hands.  Sure, it could be a bumble bee nest if it's in the ground, but still, I don't do that...  Most likely it's wasps.  Why the operator steers the conversation (not this example in perticular) towards bees and beekeepers, or why the caller gives false information is beyond me and beside the point I'm going to make here.

As I see it there's opportunity here.  Now I won't take it so far as to start an extermination firm.  But I might offer the caller to come over for a small amount of money. (Enough, but not more, to cover my expenses to get there) Unless of course there are actually bees there, in which case the bees should cover my expenses.  Or I could offer the caller to send me some pictures / a video of said nest to avoid costs alltogether.  In case of wasps I'll always refer back to the fire department.  I'm not going to kill insects.  In case of bumble bees, provided I have the time, I might offer to go over for a fixed amount of money to relocate them.  Of course in the case of bees I'll go over to see how easy or difficult it might be to get to them.  For trap-outs or cut-outs that I see managable I might work anywhere from 'for free' to 'the amount of expenses' I make.  For a ligit swarm call I'll always work free of charge. At least that's how I see it now.  Food for thought over winter...

To Do List:

  1. I have put some content out, but still nothing with the 'older' footage I have around, I'll do that asap.
  2. Keep feeding?  I stopped.  I collected the feeder with mold, washed it out and stopped feeding that hive.  I only fed the Simplex Nuc one more time after that, and haven't since.  I'll preserve my sugarpatties for early spring IF and only IF I have a hive in trouble that could be saved or when I make splits.
  3. Planning for next season is starting to take form.  I'm pretty sure to start queen rearing with the hopkins method and have contacted a handy man for that in the hopes he can construct me a super where I can rest a frame in sideways that should provide the eggs/young larvae to make queens with.
So that's it.  I'm going to collect the video's I havent used yet and sort through them, hopefully I'll also get to edit a bit before I go to bed (as I see we're well into 22nd september already)

 Bob Out

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Saterday 08 sep: The 2018 bee convention in Malle

Hello readers,

Nothing new here around my apiary, but...

I went to a bee convention.

I probably didn't as much pictures as I supposed to for the blog, maybe next time I'll do a better job at it.
In the first picture you can see an up close of the goodie bag we received upon entering the convention.  (It's in dutch so don't try to make too much sense of it but here's what's on it:) On the top you can see the logo's of the two beekeepers organisations that helped to put this 'congress' together.  It's the AVIB (which stands for Antwerpse Vereniging voor Imker Belangen); An Antwerp Assosiation to protect the interest of beekeepers. and the 'Koninklijke Vlaamse Imkersbond' or Royal Flemish Beekeepersassosciation.
In the middle is the logo of the convention itself and beneath it are two government agencies that sponsored the event. (The Province of Antwerp and the department of agriculture and fishing)

Inside the bag was a button that could be exchanged for a lunch.  A ticket to collect a honney beer after the event was over and some pamflets and information on beekeeping in general along with the roster of the event.
The theme was 'the future of beekeeping; looking forward'.

It started of with a reception (free coffe, tea or water) to give people the time to arrive at the event.  The second picture there shows the amount of people gathered half an hour before the event started.

There was a stage and plenty of seats for the crowd and the first event was a speaker: Professor Hans Van Dijck.  He talked about insects in general under the title: The world through facet eyes: psychologie of insects in a humanized environment.  I must admit I dozed off (too much beer and not enough sleep the night before) but what I did pick up from it was very interesting.  If I have to summarize the speech to a conclusion I'd say we are fritting away at the habitat of others and in the long run that will cost us.

The second speaker, Thomas Van Pelt, a multicultural Belgian (I think) now keeping bees in Germany on the same hivebodies as me (Zander).  He adressed 4 topics and started off with modernisation of beekeeping.  He sees it as the future and I must say, using 2 buzzboxes already of my own, I can only agree.  The topic that resonated with me the most was his explanation of why chemical or biochemical treatments are only good for short term sollutions.  He didn't take it as far as me, who's trying to go treatment free, but hinted that Science had to help out with the genetic line of the varroa resistend bee and untill such time we should only use 'biotechnical interference' in the hive to suppress the varroa presence.  Another topic was the environment again.  Where do our bees (or other pollinators) get their food?  What do they give in return and how do we treat that environment.  He wants to return to a biological agricultural way of life.  Sure some numbers show that with treating production goes up 51% but without bees it goes down 76% !!  And treating = killing bees.  That was the jest of it anyway.

After Thomas it was time for some well deserved nutrition.  Belgian fries with steak and vegetables and time to take a stroll between the many stands of associations and vendors that came to the event.  One table picked my interest since it was the stand of honeybee valley.  And sure enough, they showed the pictures of the Asian hornets nest in Waregem that I talked about earlier on my blog!  I grabbed a folder but have yet to dig in to the details of how to protect yourself from those insects - and then I haven't decided to agree with the methods yet!  On the pamflet is this picture:

Ment to help you identify what kind of insect you're looking at in front of your hive in comparison to what a honeybee looks like.

After that I went to witness the panel discussion with members of the government and different organisations working for a better environment or that have connections with beekeeping.  There were 6 in total.  Dirk Degraaf from Honneybee valley, a woman from biological agriculture, a man representing nature (his organisation wants to protect all that is green on a local level), the local politian of agriculture (ao), the chairman of the royal flemish beekeepingassociation and Thomas Van Pelt as a beekeeper.  The moderator was a civil servant in the department of agriculture and he promissed to take what he heard to the ministers cabinet.

During the entire event (and I should've taken pictures here) there was a competition going on for the best label for honey.  There were about 30 entries and the one I voted for came in 3rd place (darnit).

I also took a good look at a showcase hive (that had a few bees escape from it)

That's all folks!

Bob Out

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Tuesday 04 sep 2019

Hello readers,

Only here to update the blog a bit, I didn't really work my bees.  Only thing I crossed off my to do list is cleaning out the feeder from the TO 2 2018.

I'm uploading a youtube video as we speak.  Nothing special, and rather long. (1h48min if I'm not mistaken)  It's a GoPro looking at the entrance of my two hives on Stand number 1.  You can see (if you decide to watch the thing - good luck with that - how bees start gathering in front of the hives for orientation flights.

 Weather Report:  

The Weather since august 21st has become what I'd call 'normal' for our region.  If you want a day by day detailed report, read on, if not, skip !
22 August: Temperatures up to 25°C and as cold as 14°C at night - no rain.
23 August: Up to 23°C and as cold as 14°C at night - no rain.
24 August:  Around 20°C max and 8,5°C at the coldest - showers durign the night!
25 August: Showers continuing till 4 in the morning, dry after that with up to 19°C as the warmest!
26 August: Again 19°C was the warmest, 8,5°C the coldest. Rain with pauzes from 4 p.m. till midnight.
27 August: In the morning it was still raining till 5 a.m. after that it cleared up. Again 19°C tops, warmer night with 13°C.
28 August: Mercury rising till 22°C and didn't drop below 12°C. No rain today.
29 August: Showers spread out during the day cooling the air to about 17°C max but no cooler than 10°C
30 August: Rising temperatures again reaching 22°C and 10°C as a low.  Shortly after midnight it stopped raining and only a small curtain of rain fell down in the afternoon.
31 August: No rain; Max 21°C and around 10°C at midnight
01 September: 22°C tops and Mercury dropping to 6° around 7-8 a.m.  No rain.
02 September: 24°C - 7°C - no rain.
03 September: Cooler again with 21°C at its peak and 10°C on the other side. No rain.
Today 04 September: 21°C and 10°C - No Rain. (see yesterday?)

Hive Report: 

Stand number 1:

Simplex Nuc: Activity near the hive seems good, the number of visiting wasps has dropped.  As for pollen being brought in I can see White, green-ish and orange colours.

PC 1 2018: The 6-framer is still in place, I haven't opened it up, but I'm sure that all bees have worked their way into other hives in the neighbourhood.  Any activity here is due to robbing. (both bees and wasps)  I shall no longer mention the PC 1 2018.  I do hope to catch a swarm next year to shake into this hive.

SS 1 2018:  I've reduced the feeding.  I took the boxes appart to remove the newspaper, but it was all cleaned up IN the hive.  The rest got stuck in between or on the top bars of the frames.  The bees were not in a good mood (I got 3 stings in the belly - yeah, my shirt lifted as I stooped over to put the top box down) I decided to put the boxes back together, newspaper leftovers and all and try again later.

Stand number 2:

TO 2 2018:  I removed the feeder and haven't put it back yet.  There were some bees in the feeder as I removed it, shook them off with no problems.  Not a single wasps to see (anywhere in the stand).  As it was late in the evening there wasn't much activity going on, but there was a steady drip of returning bees and some foragers took off to go about their business.  Not going to open up this hive till next spring.

SD 1 2018:  Comparable activity here as with the TO 2 2018 - even though this hive is only fitted with 6 frames (where the TO 2 2018 has 20 in 2 supers).  I hope they get through winter ok.

TO 1 2018: This nuc is still packed with bees.  If there is one hive I expect to swarm first after winter, this'll be the one.

To do list:

  1. Get some video footage up on youtube.
  2. keep feeding till I run out of sugar.
  3. Plan for next season. 
I have been looking up some information on queen rearing, and I might go with the poor man's method! (The Hopkins Methode)  But I'm not sure yet.  So no promisses.  I do hope to film some more for you guys!

 Bob Out

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Asian Hornets in Waregem

Hello readers,

No 'Weather Report' or 'Hive Report' today.  Only a simple message I got myself yesterday:

The Asian Hornet is near my hives!

A friend, working with the fire department, who exterminate wasps, contacted me.  He wanted to let me know they exterminated a Asian Hornets nest in the town I live.
In fact, although he didn't give me the exact adress, the nest couldn't have been more than 750m away from my 2nd hivestand!

What's worse is that they think there is a secondary nest in the area.  So guess what I'll be doing next time I'm at my hives.  Stake out the entrances and walk from tree to tree to look inside the branches... See if I can spot any of these two:

Let's hope our bees adapt quick enough so they can fight this threat themselves!
If worst comes to be true, we all might have to say goodbye to the apis mellifera and work with the apis cerana instead.
It can live with varroa and already knows how to deal with this hornet.
All we can do is hope the apis mellifera can adapt as well (or better) to both current threats as did her cousin.

Bob Out.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Sunday 19 aug 2018

Hello readers,

It's bin a while since I actually did some stuff, but I've only got time today to write up on it.

But first of the:

Weather Report:

Weather has been getting normal again I'd say.  Temperatures are still warm (we are in summer) and have peeks up to 28°C but it's never gotten below 17°C during the day and 12°C at night.
As for rain, We had a good deal of it the 13th and some on the 16th and 17th.  The bees and plants are happy with it.

On to the:

Hive Report: 

Stand number 1:

Simplex Nuc: Activity near the hive seems good, they fight off whasps and I'v not seen any go into this hive.

PC 1 2018: For lack of a better name...  I know I killed this hive off to replenish the amount of bees in the SS 1 2018.  But the day after the operation (the 13th) I found a lot of bees went back to where the hive was and stayed there up against the woodwork.  I've taken a 6-frame simplex nuc, with some drawn out comb and put it near the bees, if they go in, they do, if they don't they don't.  Up until  today there are still bees inbetween the nuc and the woodwork.  I haven't forced anything else.

SS 1 2018: As I said I would, Ive been feeding this hive with sugar water.  I fed them on the 17th with some regular sugar water 1:1.  No more wasps go into this hive, but I have seen more fighting near this entrance than with the simplex nuc. Part of me is thinking that sugar water is the cause.

Stand number 2:

TO 2 2018:  Went to this hive on the same day I fed the SS 1 2018 (17th) but only put half the amount in the feeder.  The sugar tea I've put in this hive was still there, it started showing some mold.  I'm going to take away the feeder alltogether and wash it out (or replace it with a new one).
Other than that I haven't seen any problems near the entrance.

SD 1 2018: No shipping over this hive.  Oh it's doing ok, but the frames won't fit into the Warré hive my friend bought.  He brought over a frame and it's a lot smaller than what I have.  He'll have to settle with a swarm (if he wants free bees).  About the SD 1 2018 itself, looking good.  I only hope the wasps don't go from hive to hive to destroy it on this stand... 
... like they did the next hive in.

JH 1 2018: The few bees that were in here?  They're gone.  Waps took over.  What a bad investment this was...  I was right they weren't going to make it, but I was hoping they'd put up a better fight.

TO 1 2018: I finnaly went and got this hive down.  A 6-frame nuc, packed with bees.  They don't all fit inside!  When collecting this hive I brought a friends ladder to reach them.  A good handfull was gathered outside of the enterance and it was only about 18°C.  I brushed some off with my hand (wearing a bee-suit and gloves) and had the biggest trouble closing up the entrance with the amount of bees in there.  No helping it.  I had to squash some dozen of them.  Trouble is that set off the alarm for the rest of them.  No matter, I was wearing the suit, what could happen.  I pivoted the hive onto my shoulder, lifted it off the mount against the wall and started climbing down the ladder.  I only took two steps before I noticed something that set off a lot of alarms in my head. 'They are inside my suit!'  At least 5 bees were in my suit.  I remained calm and kept going down keeping my mouth closed.  I set down the hive and was already stung on my bottom lip, or just beneath it to be exact.  I moved away from the hive itself and started taking my suit off.  The owner of the home was there and curious on how I'd do stuff, so he was still watching.  As I couldn't see where the stinger was I asked for him to remove it from my lip.  While he was reaching for my face I felt a bee inside my clothes!  I stopped him but was to late to unbutton my shirt.  He got a first hand look on how a bee tries to wriggle itself loose after it stings a human.  It didn't get lucky, she pulled out her stinger.  I asked him to remove that stinger first;  Right next to my left nipple.  I had to put my suit back on to load in the hive into my car, while doing that a bee chased the home owner off.  I advised him to leave and he didn't need saying twice.  Before I put my gloves on another bee found me, landed on my hand and let me have it.  That was sting number 3... (and my hand is still a bit swollen from that).
I called a friend to bring some sheets or other cloth I could wrap the hive in so any bees that were still on the outside of the hive (or the ones that could escape out of it during transport) were still trapped in there.
Waiting for his arrival I lit my smoker (maybe I should've done that before setting to work) and moved the hive twice, brushing bees frome the outside of the box and smoking the box to mask the scent.
I kept doing that till I could giftwrap the hive in a heavy curtain my friend brought over.
And that was that.
Today I went over to take a look and they are crowding out the entrance again, so I'm happy!

To do list:

  1. Get some video footage up on youtube.
  2. Clean out the TO 2 2018 feeder
  3. keep feeding till I run out of sugar.
  4. I did do something else too.  The materials I got from the beekeeper that quit. I cleaned those up today and stacked them.  I'm going to leave them on my stand to hopefully get some swarms in there.  But I still need to put a cover on one.  And as I'm going to put two empty hives (with some drawn out comb frames in) there I want them to be 2 deeps each. Not sure if that's going to be to big for a swarm or not, but it helps keep my shed empty as I don't need to store them.

So that was it again! 

 Bob Out

Monday, 13 August 2018

Sunday 12 08 2018

Hello readers,

Today I went over a part of my to do list.

Weather Report:

The weather is finally coming around.  Since last report we have had a couple of showers and temperatures are dropping below 20° during the day.

Hive Report:

Simplex Nuc: No change on this hive.  Good activity most of the time.  And I spotted some orientation flights one day around 16h30.
A good amount of pollen is being brought in, I have no idea if there is any nectar coming in.

SS 1 2018: I spotted some pupae of the wax moth through my windows in the bottom box.  There was at least one on one of the filler frames. So I was sure I needed to open this hive up as on my 'to do' list from previous blogpost.  The bottom enterance got opened for 3 days to allow the bees to clean the hive through there rather than drag stuff to the top entrance.  But this morning I spotted 3 wasps trying to get in there and not a lot of resistance from my bees... So I closed it off again till later in the evening;  Where I had a quick look inside.
I started with removing the top box and taking the filler frames out of the bottom box.  The feeder frame was still half full, so I decided to move it to the side.  I then introduced 4 frames of bees from another hive (PC 1 2018) closed it off with some newspaper and put the top box on there.  I then removed the top entrance from that box and checked 3 frames.  2 of them had brood in all stadia so I stopped my inspection, I took out two empty frames from the side and put filler frames there instead.
I then closed off the box with a feeder on top and gave them a mixture of sugar tea.

PC 1 2018: Probably the last report of this hive  I opened up the hive and saw what I feared.  Only 4 frames where showing bees on it.  None of the frames had brood and only 1 had some food in it.
I couldn't spot a queen and as there were no eggs I figured there was no queen anymore.  As you can read from the report in SS 1 2018 I put those 4 frames inside SS 1 2018's bottom box and closed  it off with a newspaper.  I sealed off the normal entrance to this hive and put on the top cover without closing off the hive with inner covers;  So there should be light going into the hive and the remaining bees don't have a real home and the returning bees will have to find another home.  Without the inner cover, bees can go in and out of this hive as they please, it is no longer a cavity as such.
Why probably?  Well after I move the frames of bees over I saw a lot of fanning going on near the hive entrance + a group of bees where gathering around something.  I'm now pondering the situation.  Shouldn't I have left it all alone?  After all, I am promoting the 'let them die' theory...  What if they were hiding the queen in there that hid as soon as I opened the hive?  What if she just stopped laying because of the dry periode we went through... 
Well, I'm not getting anywhere with what iff's right?

Side note...  During this inspection I had my friend over who bought a warré hive, he's planning on keeping bees next year and I promised him If I had a surviving colony he could start with that provided we can hang my frames in his hive.
If not, the first swarm call I get goes into his hive.

TO 1 2018:  Still need to collect this hive ASAP.

TO 2 2018: Also feeding this hive with the sugar tea.  Nothing much to report since I didn't stay long enough to actually watch the bees.

SD 1 2018: So, since I killed off PC 1 2018 using 3 frames from this hive chances are I missed the queen of that hive and put a second one in there ...  Who won?  I'll let you know next spring. If I find a marked queen (the one I found in Sint Denijs Zwevegem) This hive will live on as the SD 1 2018 for sure.  If I don't find a marked queen, that means PC 1 2018 might have killed the swarmed youngster...  I feel like I'm getting in over my head here.  Pretty sure advanced beekeepers reading all this are going crazy over the mistakes I've made thus far...  Anyhow, this 6-frame Zander hive is looking ok, judgeing from the activity in front of the hive.  This might very well be the hive I ship over to my friends house, if they make it through winter.

JH 1 2018: OMG, what have I got?  Checking on this hive today, it was the only one struggling with wasps near the entrance.  Even though the TO 2 2018 has a bigger entrance to the hive, this one showed signs of being mollested by wasps, the TO 2 2018 did not!  This hive might not even make it to winter!  Let alone through!

So what's on my to do list after today?

To do list:

  1. Retrieve the TO 1 2018 and make arrangements on what to do next year. (Give it another go or let the home owner kill the bees) - I better inform the home owner that if I am succesfull next year he still could have a problem with mold building up on the frames inside, or mice, or other vermin.  I know I have said this is a top priority, but ... without a ladder there and that place being the furthest out of my way...  I'm making escuses.  I should stop and just go and get my own ladder...
  2. keep feeding SS 1 2018 and TO 2 2018 till... ? I need to read up on when to start and stop feeding sugar syrup for winter preparations.  I could stop any time, I know, but I want the sugar packages I got to be used up before next spring.  And after that I do not intend to use any more of those.  Or buy sugar to feed to my bees.  Sounds harsh? - Such is life...
  3. Get some video footage up on youtube!!

That's all folks.

 Bob Out

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Saturday 04 aug

Hello readers,

Finally I'm here with the conclusion of the events from my last post (Friday 20 july).
It isn't happy news...  But first:

Weather Report:  

I could put the dates down from july 20th to today, but appart from 2 days where we had a bit of rain, it would be more of the same.  With temperatures climbing to 36°C.  Hey, predictions are we're going to have days above 40°... 
I personally am hoping for some cooler days.

Hive Report:

I'll do a full hive report today even though I didn't open up any existing hives...

Simplex Nuc:  Near the enterance of this hive I always see good activity, not as early in the morning as my SS 1 2018 (who are black bees) but still good activity.  A good amount of guard bees are always to be found near the enterance and they have their job cut out for them;  This year has been encredible favourable for wasps it seems.  There are a lot of them out there and near my hives you can always find 3 - 4 buzzing around.  They feast on dead bees in front of my hives and honesty commands me to admit I've killed a dozen or so while looking at my bees.
Looking through the windows on this hive I can report: no changes at all.  No building up in the empty frames, no activity in the bottom box.
I'm not planning to open this hive up till next spring.

SS 1 2018: With great relief I can tell you guys this hive is doing allright.  I've opened up the bottom hive enterance a couple of days when I spotted bees through the windows of what used to be the deep of SS 2 2018 dragging dead wax moth larvae about.  It didn't take a minute before the bees found the hole in the bottom and started dragging rags and wax moth larvae out of there.  After a couple of days I didn't spot any activity near the bottom enterance anymore, so closed it up again leaving the top enterance open.  As with the simplex nuc I can see bees in the enterance and this hive is usually more active earlier than the two others on my apiary number one (with the Simplex nuc and PC 1 2018)
I'v seen white and orange pollen come into this hive.
As for feeding them, I have given them twice 1,5 l of sugar water 1:1 since last report, the second time being today!
There are some bees checking the bottom box and there should be a frame of patty in there.  This is why I plan on opening this hive at least once more in the future.  I hope to call a friend and have him assist me, so I can't say when I'm actually going to go about my business.

PC 1 2018: As happy as I was when I got this swarm, that's how worried I am now.  Of my three hives this one is showing least activity.  It might have everything to do with the frames I took out (see last blogpost - Friday july 20).  I might have weakened the hive in doing so and worst case scenario, I moved out the queen when I took the frames and now she's dead or killed the queen that swarmed and is now in a 6-frame nuc called SD 1 2018.  I'm hoping it's the first scenario, where I removed 3 frames, 2 of them with a lot of brood, and thus removing places for this queen to lay in.  Causing a low worker force and thus a weaker hive...
Al this is reason enough for me to open up the hive again for a full inspection when opening the SS 1 2018.

TO 1 2018: I have not gone back even though I wanted to.  Should make it top priority.

TO 2 2018: This hive is still being fed at the same rate (more or less) as the SS 1 2018 (so they got a batch of 1,5 liter of 1:1 sugar today and one last week.  There is very nice activity near this hive and I'm not planning on opening it till next spring.  As with the hives in my apriary 1, the hives on my apiary 2 also have wasps buzzing about.  Not in the amount one of my next videos should show you (God I'm behind on that) but they are still looking for easy pickings.  This hive is not one!
The only thing I'll need to do is put some wire-mesh in front of the entrance to prevent mice from getting in!

SD 1 2018: This is a nuc I'm going to overwinter.  It is looking strong with a lot of bees going in and out.  The reduced enterance I created got removed so they are using the entire 6-frame lenght of opening in there.  I'm going to have to reduce this down before mice decide to go in aswell.  But I'm not opening the nuc if I don't have to till next spring.

JH 1 2018: Oh what a dissapointment this has been.  I took 2 hives from the beekeeper his property as told on Thursday 19 july.  The big hive I talked about got an inspection as soon as I moved them (23rd july) and got reduced down to 2 deeps instead of 3.  In the top deep there was nothing going on.  The comb was drawn out but that's it. I used some of that comb to replace the one in the second box that was infested with wax moth.  There were almost no bees in here and only one frame of honey (capped).  I decided to give them the box back with the bad frames replaced with better ones from the top box.  Then I looked in the bottom box and should've reduced the hive down further.  Only 3 frames out of 10 had bees on them and on only 1 of them there was a spotted brood pattern.  I think I spotted a queen, but was not sure about it.  I did not reduce them down but instead closed the hive with the adjusted super on it.  I came back the 28th to see nothing but wasps near the enterance, they were going inside freely.  I feared the worst and came back the day after when I had time to inspect the hive.  29th of July I declared this hive as 'dead'.  I removed all boxes from the stand and placed them a good 20-30 m away to be robbed out.
That being said there was another hive I moved from his home to my apiary number 2 and up till today it's still going.  Not in a good shape if you ask me, but it's not dead...  I also inspected it on the 23rd and out of the 10 frames there were 5 being used, 3 with brood.  Activity near this hive has been on the 'low' side of things.  Where the SD 1 2018 and the TO 2 2018 show a good coming and going of bees, this hive has a lot less activity.  I had to sit there for a while before I was sure it wasn't neighbouring bees robbing the hive out.  I'm not going to open up thi hive at all If I don't need to.  If they make it, good, then I hope they get to boom next year, if they don't.  Well I might use the hive to make splits.

The log: The log, you ask?  What log?  I went out there to retrieve the cut down tree.  The beekeeper came and took us there, only to find out the two pieces of log were gone.  No where to be found.  I don't want to accuse anybody without having proof, but I have a good idea of what might have happened.  So no log for me...

And that's it for my hive report.

To help myself I'm going to make a to do list next; To help me organise my thoughts.  I might introduce a 'did I do it' next time, or might just include the data in my hive report, not sure yet, but stick around and you'll find out!

To do list:

  1. Retrieve the TO 1 2018 and make arrangements on what to do next year...  Give it another go, or let the home owner kill the bees.
  2. Open up PC 1 2018 with the intent of doing an inspection.  Suppose the PC 1 2018 has no queen in it, I might ask about in my club or put the SD 1 2018 queen in with this hive and put the bees from that hive (since I have no clue how to add bees in a long hive without starting a war) in the slots of the filler frames I have in the SS 1 2018.
  3. Open up the SS 1 2018 to remove the feeder frame from it and if needed ad the bees from SD 1 2018 (if the PC 1 2018 needs a queen.) with frames and all (replacing the 4 filler frames, 1 feeder frame and maybe one foundationless frame that has no comb on it).

See you next time!
 Bob Out

Friday, 20 July 2018

Friday 20 jul 2018

Hello readers,

Yes, two posts in a row!  I'm not reverting to daily reports, but I wanted to add this in stead of adjust my previous post...

After finishing up what I wrote yesterday I got another call for a swarm.  I didn't think much of it, since all of the last swarm-calls (it is very late in the swarming season) turned out to be either wasps or bumble bees; But as it turns out upon arrival on the scene a small clump of bees was near a pipe in the wall.  I asked what was on the other side of the pipe and they showed me the boiler...  The pipe was about 2m long and very narrow so I couldn't imagine a swarm going inside there... But still the clump of bees was to small to be a swarm, and this late in the season?

Read on in the hive report!

Weather Report:

20th july 2018 is yet another hot day, dry and more of what we're used to.

Hive Report:

As my last report covered all of the hives I have I'll only mention the ones that I disturbed and created!

SD 1 2018: Continuing on my intro, I started pushing some bees aside (bare handed and wearing shorts) hoping not to get stung.  I couldn't find a queen but the bees were clumped tightly together.  Also some of the bees came and left the small clump and a couple entered the pipe.  I was listening with my ear against the boiler but couldn't hear buzzing.  I was puzzled.  Thinking of ways how to help these people out and how to remove the swarm from the boiler we kept watching the bees.  I was fairly sure there was no queen in the clump hanging from the pipe.  But the woman told me she had spotted one bee with a red dot on it's head.  So I figured there was a queen when she first spotted the bees.  If it wasn't with the bees hanging from the pipe she must've moved into the pipe.  But why didn't the rest follow?
I decided to look again and started pushing more bees aside than I first had.  Some flew up and buzzed around in the area, but fortunately for me and the bystanders none of them had the urge to sting.  Down against the wall I finally found the queen.  She did indeed have a red dollop of paint on her thorax.  I picked her up and asked (since I emptied out my gear two days prior - as the car had been brought in the shop for maintenance and I didn't expect any more swarm calls -) if by any chance they had a container of sorts they would be willing to part with.  I suggested an empty plastic ice cream box or something similar.  I was given a tupperware box and made a few holes in the lid with a screw.  I then put the queen inside it and brushed most of the bees inside with my hand.  Hoping to mask the scent of the queen on the wall - as the bees kept flying back to it - I asked for the sigaret the woman was smoking, using the smoke to mask the scent of the queen on the wall and kept pushing bees of and scooping some up to put on the lid of the plastic container.
In the end I didn't get them all, I left a dozen or so behind, but I at least had 50 bees and the queen with me.  Only after I left the scene it dawned on me this catch might just be the result of a beekeeper breeding his queens.  The amount of bees fit the amount for a 'mini plus' hive.  I'm not sure if this is a common practice outside of Belgium but it's only a very small hive which fits a cup of bees and is used to get queens mated.  The 'mini plus' might just have been too cramped for this amount of bees so the queen and her workers might have decided to move house.
I placed this queen in a cage and added her to a split I made from the PC 1 2018 adding the bees she came with to the split.
I locked them up and will wait for 2 days before moving them out to apiary number 2.

PC 1 2018: Beekeeping never goes the way you think it will...  Where I kept telling myself (and you through this blog) that I wouldn't interfere anymore apart from maybe one more time to adjust the frames of food before winter, I had to open up this hive.  Well I didn't have to, but in my mind this hive was the perfect donor hive for some brood and drawn out comb to kickstart the newly found queen.  I was glad I wore gloves for this job and my suit as the bees came at me as soon as I opened up the hive.  Not all of them but a very small amount (the guard bees) let me know that I shouldn't bother the hive.  I took out the first frame and spotted some BRIAS (BRood In All Stadia) packed full with bees.  As this was a frame the queen could be on I looked at the bees hoping to spot the queen.  That way I was sure where she was and I could capture her and put her aside to avoid adding her to the split.  I had no such luck, I couldn't spot the queen.  I put this frame into the nuc and picked up another frame, this one had capped brood but no open brood or eggs, it was also packed with bees on one side and only a few bees with honey on the other side.  I did not find the queen on there so decided to add it to the nuc.  Then I looked at the first frame (closest to the entrance of the hive) and it had some honey in it and some brood in a solid pattern.  I put it back into the hive and checked the next frame - still didn't see the queen.  Next frame I took out had no brood and was halffull of honey on one side.  No queen so I added it to the nucleus.  All the other frames I moved forward after inspection to close up the gaps I made by removing frames.  I placed the filler board I made into my long hive after 4 empty frames (well, 2 had half foundation on them).  Beyond that filler board I also noticed some wax moth larvae on the top of empty frames.  I removed the ones I spotted and hope they won't cause any problems for this hive.  I'm wondering if the moth came in through the hive entrance (at night?) or found another way into it.
After this inspection I took another look at the frames I put in the nucleus to check for the queen again, as I didn't spot her in the hive.  I did not find her and concluded she must still be in the hive.
I took the risk, filled up the hive with empty frames and put the caged queen in there.  The bees that accompanied her I also shook in that hive.  Caging the queen was my first time! I liked it and was surprised at how easy it was.  She almost willingly walked into that cage, let's hope she'll do well and is not added to a nucleus where the PC 1 2018 queen also snuck in!
Time will tell, hopefully this is the start of a long series of hive reports of the SD 01 2018.  SD refers to the place I got this queen from (Sint-Denijs - a small part of a larger town called Zwevegem)  if not, I might just put these bees in together with one of my smaller hives.

Afterthoughts:  Bees are very forgiving.  I have tampered with them, made splits, not always successful, and only had one of my hives abscond. (the SS 2 018 after I tried introducing the TO 2 2018 Queen) My main worry now is, what will the excess space do to them.  Simplex Nuc has one box that is not in use.  So has the SS 1 2018 and the TO 2 2018, the long hive isn't even half full...  If this SD 1 2018 takes off, I'm going to let it overwinter in the nucleus.

If you're reading this as a seasoned beekeeper and start pulling your hairs out - caused by the mistakes I make, let me know what you would've done different.  I'm here to learn and in posting a reply underneath you might help prevent other beekeepers from making the same mistakes!

Keep a look out on my youtube channel for the next video, I know I'm behind but do have some footage to put out there.

Bob Out

Thursday 19 jul 2018

Hello readers,

It has been calm on here, I know, It wasn't so calm with my beekeeping journey though.  Nor was it in the rest of my life, but that's not why you're here ;-)

As per usual I'll bore you with another weather report, but I'll keep it short.

Weather Report:

 Look back at my previous report from july 2nd, and just paste it in here.
The dearth continues...  All days ware dry and temperatures haven't dropped under 20°C during the day.
N'uff said...

Hive Report: 

Simplex Nuc: As per last report I haven't got any news on this hive.  They're still on a stack of 3 boxes and are not using the bottom one.  Activity near the entrance is good.  I've seen them rob out (but only with a couple of bees) what's left over of the SS 2 2018.  So yeah, this post will be the last one to include the SS 2 2018.  There hasn't been any more building going on from what I could see, but then again I didn't and won't open the hive any more till 2019 if I don't have to.

SS 1 2018: I took a big risk with this hive. But first things first.  I didn't build a new hive yet, and I also abandoned the idea of moving this hive to the 2nd apiary.  Instead, I've placed them in one Zander super, much like I did when I first got the Simplex Nuc.  As the normal bottom with hive entrance was used by the  SS 2 2018 and I don't have any spares;  I fabricated some alternative entrances/feeders.  You can find a video about it in the future somewhere (as soon as I find the time to edit the video's I've got saved up).  So I basically made a box, half a super high, with a hole drilled in that serves as an enterance.  I can put my supers on top of it, or I can place the  box on top of my supers (depending if I turn the open side up or down).  I started off doing both, a box underneath the super and one on top, but with the bottom entrance closed off.  The bees were confused at first after I moved them but Nasonov did his work and soon the bees learnt where the hive entrance was.  - Meanwhile the SS 2 2018 was being robbed out - After a week I decided to give these bees (SS 1 2018) more room.  I removed the bottom box (the half super I built), closed off the bottom entrance of the SS 2 2018 (for more on that read the SS 2 2018 report) and put the super on top of SS 2 2018 (that no longer had bees in it).  The bottom I removed I now used as a feeder.  I've put in sugar syrup 2/1. They now have had it for about 4 days and yesterday there was still some syrup in there.
I have to keep an eye on this hive since I took the risk of putting it on the SS 2 2018 (read on below).

SS 2 2018: Contrary to what I hoped, there was no queen anymore in this hive.  Nor were there any queencups, let alone enough bees to nurture what little brood was left in there.  I'm guessing I disturbed the hive too soon with my previous inspection and should've locked the queen up in there for a couple of days since she absconded from a tree (TO 1 2018).
I waited too long to remove the frames and the feeder with a waxmoth problem as a result.  I first wanted to leave the hive for the bees to rob, but after a couple of days of inactivity I figured the hive was emptied out.  I opened her up the 15th only to find the beginnings of webbing made by a wax moth.  I cut out every trace of wax moth I could find in all the frames in this super.  With the dearth the patty had dried up inside the frame feeder.  Not sure if it'll do the bees any good but I left the patty in the frame feeder and I also left the filler frames in there.  Then I put SS 1 2018 on top since I thought it would be a waste to just ditch the frames.  I can only hope the SS 1 2018 is strong enough to clean up the mess I/the wax moths made.
If not, I might just have killed another hive.  Anyhow, this is the last entry for the SS 2 2018, as of now there will be no more updates of this hive. (well there will be, but look at the SS 1 2018 for that in the future)
Lets's hope the SS 1 2018 makes it and doesn't abscond the hive due to the wax moths.

PC 1 2018: Bring on John Lennon, take a brake and sing along: Let 'em be...  That's what I did.  No update here apart from a daily look at the entrance.  I can report that this hive is as active as can be expected.  Pollen is being dragged in, early morning is the best time for nice activity.  Another bit of information I can share with you is a way of feeding I stumbled upon for this hive.  I've picked it up at my local bee club:

It's a (fruit juice) carton filled up with straw to prevent bees from drowning filled to about 3/4 with sugar syrup.  I haven't used this myself, but if I need to feed this hive any sugar syrup for any reason, this is the only way I see how.  Winter-feeding will not be possible in this manner, so I hope I never need to feed.  Not that I'm planning to feed this hive, but it's nice to make notes of what can be of use, be it sooner or later. I hope the situation here remains the same and I can report back in 2019 with a first inspection or later this summer for a re-arrangement of frames to get all honey on one side.

TO 1 2018: I have not found the time to go back and fetch my hive.  Might do so later next week.  Let's hope the ladder is there when I do.

TO 2 2018: This hive has been moved from a 6-frame polystyreen hive to a 2 deep 10 frame Zander hive; here's a picture:

I've painted this hive up (also included in the video I'm bound to edit and post soon) and am also feeding these bees a 2/1 sugar syrup.  Why did I start feeding 2 hives?  Well, to be honest, I probably shouldn't have and instead I should've removed the supers that the bees didn't put to use yet.  But I'm a beginner and I'm bound to make stupid mistakes.  At the risk of losing bees I've decided to let them have an almost empty super underneath the brood nest and in the hopes of them still building out comb before winter I've started feeding.
Worst case scenario: they fill up the brood nest with the syrup and thus force the queen to stop laying.  Let's hope they don't swarm on me if this happens.

JH 1 2018: A beekeeper living less than 300m away from my home (and my apiary 1) has grown an alergy.  He does no longer wish to risk his health and decided on getting rid of his bees.  He hasn't checked up on them at all but believes he has one strong hive.  I went over to take a look, made an offer and we came to an agreement.  They are now my bees and I'll move them to my apiary 2 (since my home is too close)  where they will be set up next to the hive above (the TO 2 2018) I'm not familiar with the methods my neighbor uses, but by the looks of things he's got the brood box on the bottom with a queen excluder on top of that, and then I can see at least 3 boxes worth of (honey)supers.  Moving this hive to my apiary number 2 will be one of my next assignments.
He (and I) weren't sure if another box in his apiary was occupied with a colony - or if it was just being robbed out after it died off, or even  if it was just scout bees checking the boxes out.  I'll find out when I get to inspect his hives.  Planning on paying him soon and taking all empty stuff with me.

LOG 1 2018: A fellow beekeeper gave me a call earlier today.  Near his apiary they were cutting down some trees.  The workers got chased by bees after cutting a tree down with bees in it.  Little did they know the bees were living there.  Yes a few got stung...  The beekeeper thinks it might be a swarm from his apiary (he's working with carnolians - apis mellifera carnica) but he has no need for another hive, let a lone a log hive.  He's offered me the log and suggested to let it be cut open by the workers.  I asked him to only cut the tree underneath and above what he thinks would be the nest, and leave it as is.  He contacted me after the log was cut open and told me it consisted of two logs stacked on top of eachother now.  I'll collect the two logs they cut out on monday.  They are now stacked on top of eachother. 

I'll try and film the retrieval of this log hive, but no promises!  See you then?

Bob Out

Monday, 2 July 2018

Monday 2 jul 2018

Hello readers,

It's been a while since I've posted on here.  But life is happening and there are a lot of things going on at once.  My house is being painted on the inside and everything is out of place in boxes.

That does not mean I'm not looking at my bees anymore!

Let's dive into the ...

Weather Report:  

Saturday 23 june 2018 - I think it's safe to day we're in a dearth.  Earliest rain in the forcast is for friday july 6th!  We had temperatures up to 25°C today and no rain.
Sunday 24 june 2018 - More of the same, not quite 25°C but still dry.
Monday 25 june 2018 - And again with temperatures just over 25°C.
Tuesday 26 june 2018 - No change!
Wednesday 27 june 2018 - Temperatures are rising to 27°C
Thursday 28 june 2018 - Climbing up to 28°C
Friday 29 june 2018 - Holding it up there at 29°C
Saturday 30 june 2018 - Climbing over 30°C
Sunday 01 july 2018 - Holding it at 30°C and still no rain...
Monday 02 july 2018 - Today we had 31°C and my lawn is looking brown instead of green...

Hive Report:

Simplex Nuc: I'm glad to report the bees are building out comb in the super!  Nothing special, you might think, but since I'm going to leave them in the 3 deep configuration year round I'm glad to see they are building their way down.  I did not open the boxes to look inside them, all this info is from looking through the windows.  My plans for this hive is to not open it again till next spring if I don't need to.

SS 1 2018: No inspection in this hive yet.  Only some sound samples I took through the buzz-box app telling me the hive is ok.  Looking at the activity near the enterance tells me the same.   I had thought about not executing my plan to move this hive to my other apiary that is being set up, but I think I'm going to stick with my plans and move this hive to the new apiary.  If all goes well with this one she'll be my queen I breed from next year!  To move her out to the new apiary I still need to build a new hive.  That'll be a long hive with Zander frame format.  So I'll have to adjust the current frames again.  Work never ends :-)

SS 2 2018: Ok so you know I've put a queen in here from the TO 2 2018 location and reduced the 2 deep configuration to a one deep.  I did tell you guys I did not know what would happen and I can now tell you what did happen! I did half an inspection on tuesday the 26th of june of both this hive and the PC 1 2018.  Both looked ok and in both cases I saw the queen.  I was happy with how this SS 2 2018 looked.  There was some open brood and I moved two frames with half foundation in between the 3 frames arleady in there hoping they would build it out ok.  I did not inspect the 3rd frame in the box and maybe I should have.  I might have seen the queencups or a second queen in there...
Looking inside through the windows on the 27th I was happy to see them building out comb next to the frame of brood.  But then it happened.  June 28th, I looked inside through the window and to my astonishment I could only find a small fistfull of bees clumped together on the middle frame and some bees running around on the frame of honey.  What happened?  The queen obviously did not take the other queen (or queencups) out.  She absconeded again, and took a lot of bees with her, well maybe she swarmed because of the queens already in there...  I think she didn't go far, a neigbour that keeps bees reported a small swarm landing in one of his empty boxes.  Chances are she went there...
So now the SS 2 2018 is in bad shape.  A fistfull of bees isn't a lot.  There isn't a lot of activity near the enterance but what I see still is encouraging.  Encouraging enough for me to let them die - or if they make it through, let them grow out a new hive.  My hopes aren't up very high but I can tell you I see the bees quard the very small enterance, so I don't think they are being robbed out.

PC 1 2018:  As you can read in the above report I did half an inspection in this hive.  I found the queen on the 4th frame of like 10 frames with bees and stopped inspecting the rest.  She's not marked and she has a solid brood pattern from what I saw.  Not much else to do here but let them be.  I'm still pondering to open up the hive again, but as it stands now I don't think I will.  Hoping the bees know best I might not open them again.  If I do it'll be to ensure the honey is all at one side of the brood before winter comes in.  - I've read that the cluster in winter only goes one way in a long hive (or top-barhive) and it would be a shame to see them die of hunger if there was honey on both sides of the broodnest but they couldn't reach it because they only went one way...  So plans are to let them be, unless I worry to much and open them up again.  I'll try not to.

TO 1 2018: I was hoping to find the ladder back where it was when I placed the trap out today, but it wasn't, fetching a ladder from a friend didn't help (it was to short). Must plan to go back later in the evening and close up the enterance to the hive in the wall again.

TO 2 2018: I have not visited the hive since it's at my sisters place.  I did prepare a hive stand at the new apiary (some car tires that are no longer in use stacked on top of each other with 2 beams over to support the hives).  I also painted up the 2 deep configuration hive that I'll set up in the new apiary.  Hoping to put the TO 2 2018 in there. (Or in to the long hive I'm building, not sure yet)  Next tuesday at the earliest I'll be moving the hives and do an inspection overthere to see if I have to make 1 big hive out of the 2, if either is queenless for some reason, or if I can but up 2 hives there.

I'll keep you posted...

 Bob Out

Friday, 22 June 2018

Friday 22 jun 2018

Hello readers,

As you will notice in one of my next video's there is a lot going on at my place that interferes with my recording...  I did not however stop looking after my bees.  But first up:

Weather report:

Friday 15 june 2018 - Rising temperatures again, almost up to 26°C but dry.
Saturday 16 june 2018 - No rain on Saturday either, dropping temperatures again, up to 22°C
Sunday 17 june 2018 - Sunday went even further down to 20°C and again no rain.
Monday 18 june 2018 - a copy of sunday basicly, 20°C and no rain.
Tuesday 19 june 2018 - you guessed it... 20°C and no rain.
Wednesday 20 june 2018 - climbing temperatures and up to 26°C, but no rain!
Thursday 21 june 2018 - a bit cooler again going back to tuesday like weather 20°C and no rain.
Friday 22 june 2018 - another copy of the week - dry and no hotter than 20°C

Hive report:

Simplex Nuc:  Only inspections I did was looking at the hive activity in front of the hive and looking through the windows that are built in.  No change.  They are looking good but not building out any further in the super let alone the bottom box.  Only thing I can say is that I'm thinking about switching the bottom box out with one that I'll put a 2nd buzzbox on.  I should be able to collect it from the post office tomorrow.

SS 1 2018: I mentioned I'm thinking about moving these bees to a new location where I can set up a new apiary.  Well I'm tempted to do this as soon as the apiary there is all ready to be used.  As it stands all it needs is some fencing to prevent the sheep to get to the hive(s).  If I move them sooner than the TO 2 2018 I'm going to need another hive ready to put them in.  So I've got my work cut out for me - building a new hive.  Another thought that crossed my mind is that this queen is from a different breed and rumour has it that the crossbreeds tend to be more agressive.   So moving this queen gives me the chance to use her eggs should the trapouts be failures.  Plus out there where my kids aren't running around will hopefully avoid any attacks (if any at all).

SS 2 2018: This hive is now in one box.  The Queen form TO 2 2018 might have left again without me noticing, but I don't think so.  It is more likely she got killed by the bees (if they made a queen themselves) or (and I'm hoping this scenario) she got accepted and took care of any queencups (if any) that were in there.  At the end of my next video (link below in the TO 2 2018 hive report) you see what I'm on about more or less.

PC 1 2018: No windows here and no inspection done.  But what I can make of the activity near the enterance is that they are doing allright.  I'm hoping to see this hive grow noticably so it shows in activity at the enterance.

TO 1 2018: This trapout failed.  Well, to be honest, the hive I put next to it shows activity enough, but I mentioned before I thought the bees found another way in...  This time I'm sure.  And not because I climbed up the ladder to spot the hole they were using.  Weather conditions permitted me to see the bees more clearly and I saw them go in and out of a hole on the side of my trap.  Another problem is that the owner of the place moved his ladder, so I can't get to my own hive any more... to be continued.

TO 2 2018:  I can't talk about the trapout location any more... not really, but the hive is going to keep it's name.  Now it's located at my sisters place to disorient the bees  before I move it over to the apiary I talked about in SS 1 2018.  They are doing well but can't say for sure if they have a queen yet as you can see in this video:

If it turns out they have a queen. I'll put them in their own box.  If it turns out they don't I'm going to join them with SS 1 2018 to make one strong hive.

Bob Out

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Thursday 14 jun 2018

Hello readers,

What an exiting hobby is beekeeping?!  I have news on TO 2 2018!! But first:

Weather Report:

Monday 11 june 2018 was a very nice day with temperatures over 25°C but no rain at all. (I did water the flowerbed somewhat)
Tuesday 12 june 2018 felt a lot cooler with the wind but the mercury still rose above 20°C and it was dry all day.
Wednesday 13 june 2018 was no different, no rain and temperatures around 20°C. (Day I did the stuff in the reports)
Thursday 14 juni 2018 no big changes to wednesday, 20°C and no rain.

Hive Report:

TO 2 2018: To summarise my day: I went working from early morning till shortly after midday.  After that I went out to my favourite pass-time that doesn't include bees: Guild Ball (read up here if you are interested) The Blog isn't that up to date, but it should give you an idea...
Anyway while playing a game later that evening I got a call from the owners of the tree at the trap out.  They noticed a small pack of bees very low sitting on a stone fence post.  I explained that it was most likely the queen that absconded with what was left of the swarm.  Since I couldn't just pack up and leave I arranged to check on the situation early morning next day.
But as it turned out, my last game ended rather quickly and it was a clear night-sky by the time I left for home.  I decided, against better judgment, to go scout out the place now.  I arrived at 23:00 and didn't spot the group of bees that normally gather against the tree.  The TO 2 2018 showed no activity but I opted not to move them since the location isn't far enough from my apiary and forraging bees might go back there.  The Buzzbox app on my phone did say the hive was healthy.
After a bit of searching using the flashlight on my phone I found 2 hands full of bees clustering against the stone post like they had discribed.  I studied the situation placing my phone as a lightsource shining down on top of the post.  This queen has a very low percentage chance of surviving on her own so I did what I thought was the only thing I could do.  I fetched my skep that is always handy in the trunk of my car during swarm season and spread out a sheet under them.
I scooped the lot of them up as best as I could squeezing the skep between my legs.
After dumping them in I placed the skep on the sheet and started inspecting the post for leftover bees.
Lo and behold who did I see there?! Queen B herself was walking on the post.  I picked her up (wearing gloves) and managed not to squash her and throw her in the skep.
After I saw her move about amongst the rest of her workers I set of to pick up as many stragglers as I could spot in the dark and put them underneath the skep.                                                                          I finished packing up the sheet around the skep at about 23:30.  Now what to do with queen B?

SS 02 2018: You'll remember that I made a split from the Simplex Nuc, drawing and shaking in bees from SS 01 2018 (that now has the Black Queen).  Well, even though they should have queencells in there now ready to be sealed I figured this was my only option to give her a chance.  I opened up the lid of this hive put some newspaper on top, added a box (with 10 foundationless Zander frames) and shook the Queen from TO 2 2018 in there.  I'm hoping, if she is accepted after chewing through the newspaper, she'll take care of the queencups that should be in this hive. And if she's not accepted, well, I tried...

I'll keep you posted on how this goes!  Stay tuned.

Bob Out

Out with the old, in with the new

Hello readers, My friend is infected!  He's signed up for a beekeeping course (the same one I'm taking - but I'm taking two th...