Phew, we got through the season already. What happened to 2017? I currently have 4 hives in my garden and another 2 hives on another apiary off site. Just a mile away. Easy enough to get to.
This year we extracted 3 supers off the off-site apiary and we will be winding up soon, taking of all the supers, feeding the bees to top up what honey supply they have, so they can get through the winter months with enough stores to feed them in hibernation when temperatures are less than 9 degrees centigrade, not high enough to take a flight to get stores or do a flight cleans.
The other task will be to give them a varroa mite treatment, which I will do once all the honey is off all hives and treat on mass for the next month. Getting the bees settled for late autumn/winter period.
I like to use as little chemicals in on my bees as possible. Throughout this last year, I have had a contraptions called a Bee-gym inside the hives which helps the bees scratch of any mite that may lie underneath their torso. I have also used Hive Clean, last year a licensed natural substance that is not chemically based.
I also only treat once a year in the autumn. My theory is this prevents the bees being resistant, but to help build a strong colony, with their own strong immune system.
When you do your weekly or 10 daily inspection into the hives you are looking for the following things
health of the bees (any deformed wings
any change in brood pattern
any discharge or funny smells
signs of bee collapse any dead bees
Signs of Queen present in the hive
can you see her on the brood frame
s there enough stores around the brood pattern
if you don't spot the queen because the colony is really full of bees
any sign of eggs, grubs and sealed brood.
Lots to discover. I hope this video and pictures open your eyes to the inner sanctum of bee life.
We haven't got a huge supply of honey this year, as a result selling at farmers markets 8oz jars (225g).
We have had a lot of super-secure taking place in one of our own hives (Maud) and as a result re-queened all the colonies, and maybe that is why we have had less honey.
I thought I would show you some pictures of events inside the hives; with a picture of a marked queen on the brood frame.
In our second colony we found two new queens on the brood frame, working together. (I will try and get images of that for next months blog)
I have decided not to destroy one and just let the community of sister bees do there thing and decide what is best for the colony. I hoping we will see them both next spring.