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Showing posts from September, 2017

What makes up the hive?

We have to get the new hive out of the box soon. It's been so cold here and yesterday we had intended to take it up to the apiary but it snowed.  Now, I happen to know that some of you reading this are in Alaska and are probably thinking 'Why would this stop you?' since really it was just English snow - maybe 6ins covering but as anyone living in England knows a little bit of snow is enough to bring most of the country to a standstill. 

In our defence the apiary is up a tiny track, behind a beautiful but very old - we are talking 16th century church and down a footpath between huge trees. It would have looked fantastic covered in snow but it would have been inaccessible.

So, back to whats in the box. We have a Thorne National Hive (feel free to advertise Thorne!) with DN4 frames. Oooh, that was a bit technical. Let's start with a rough idea of what we have. The diagram is a National hive, usually the most practical, cheaper and easiest hive, in my humble opinion. There…

Varroa Mites

Varroa mite is a problem for bee colonies and something bee keepers all become aware of really fast. Their actual name is Varroa Destructor which gives you a bit of an idea of just how devastating having Varroa can be. Everywhere in the world, except Australia, has Varroa, and it first appeared in Devon, UK. If colonies have Varroa they will die if you don't treat it.  The mites hide in an uncapped cell and then feed on the brood food and then begin to nibble the larvae itself transferring disease and causing defects. The defects caused are most commonly deformed wings but could also be stunted growth and other problems.
Varroa mites emerge with the new bee, hanging on to its back. The mites then  begin the cycle again by entering a new cell and laying eggs there. 

This is Varroa Mite on a larvae.

This is Varroa Mite on a bee. They look pretty obvious and easy to spot.

I haven't seen any on our bees. However we have bees with deformed wings. This is really worrying so despite …

Feeding the bees

Whilst we were away our apiary manager looked at the bees for us and recommended we feed them a bit more sugar solution. If forage is low we need to make sure that there is food available for the bees to build up for the winter so that they survive.

Winter talk already! I'm only just into Autumn! School term has started, the little one has begun school for the first time and we are shortly to be in the full sway of music practice, swimming, gymnastics, ballet, cubs and rainbows. Luckily the bees don't take much time as they are much less demanding right now. I might live to regret having said that.

Workng, Working, Working

since its summer the busiest bees in the hive are the workers. I didn't realise until recently that there are 5 different types of worker bees. Though knowing this does mean that Bee Movie know makes more sense to me.

It depends on age, different jobs depending on skills and knowledge I guess, the more familiar you are with how things work the greater the opportunities there are. I think when reviewing this structure it also depends on strength and resistance.

Here is how it works


Did you know that bees roar?

We opened the hive today after a long break in Scotland, where incidentally beekeeping is limited to mostly the mainland (goodness that sounded a bit like I was wearing an anorak then), and had the now familiar roar from the bees. It is also a bit like a hello now that I have got used to it and it feels friendly.  When I move the frames around sometimes I might knock the bees, I get a little mini roar then. I find it a comforting sound, a bit of interaction.

It isn't at all though, its a warning. It is to alert the bees that something is happening and that they are being disturbed, there might be a threat, and to me, to let me know to just be careful please.

There is another kind of roar that beehives make that is a bit scarier, that is the roar of a queenless hive. This I hope not to hear at all. Lets not think about that one today.