Bee Inspector

Today we had a visit from the bee Inspector.

We was essentially looking for any illness or pests that would be a potential threat to the bee population in general.

He was very quick and the colony was good and healthy. He felt the colony was doing well and no issues.

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Splitting a Hive

I have been given some advice from Roger in HBKA in how to split a hive. – SPLITS

I spoke to Roger tonight about our hive and how to split if we are unable to locate the queen. When I described my hive he clearly felt it was growing really well and therefore splitting into 2 hives would be advisable.  THERE MUST BE EGGS ON THE FRAMES TO DO THIS AS YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE YOUR CURRENT QUEEN IS LAYING.

The ideal is leave the queen in the current hive (becomes known as the doner hive) however if you are not sure then ensure that there are eggs and nurse bees in both hives,

Step 1 – move 5-6 frames into the new hive. 3 should have eggs on them and 2-3 with broad and food. Ideally take the frames from the outer edges of the brood box. These frames need to have eggs and capped brood on them. Put these in the centre of the hive and then put new brood frames either side.  frames will eggs in the middle.

BroodBox Layout
New
New
New
Capped
Eggs
Eggs
Eggs
Capped/food
New
New
New

Step 2- shake nurse bees into the new hive . You can tell nurse bees as they tend to stick to frames and don’t fly. (You can put some forages in the new hive but they are likely to just return to the original hive. ) The nurse bees will convert an egg into a queen cell. If you have some queen cells with larvae in the doner hive then you could move some of these to the new hive.

Step 3 – feed the new hive with sugar syrup and close up for 3 weeks. After 2 weeks you should see pollen being taken into the new hive.

Doner Hive

Step 1 – if you can find the queen then leave her in the hive. if you can’t then make sure you leave some eggs behind and then they will make a new queen.

Step 2- the doner hive should be left with frames with eggs, capped brood and food. The forages will continue to collect nectar for feeding but there will also be food in the super.

Step 3 – add the new brood frames to the hive. these should be at the edges with the original frames put in the middle.

BroodBox Layout
New
New
Capped/Larvae
Capped/Larvae
Eggs/Capped
Eggs
Eggs/Capped
Capped/food
New
New
New

Step 3 – go back into the hive after a week and check that there are eggs.

If I find queen cells with larvae then advice would be to move some to new hive. If there are eggs on the brood then don’t need to leave any in the doner hive. If no eggs then leave queen cells in both hives.

Zoey’s first inspection

Zoey joined us today for her first inspection.

She was nervous but was very brave. She stood behind us but was very interested in looking at them and what they were doing.

Well done Zoey and hopefully one of many adventures with the honey bees.

First inspection

Today we finally opened up the hive. It was a very brief opening. I took off the fondant icing and added a super. Even though I didn’t look at the frames – there was a lot of buzzing in the main box and lots of bees coming and going. They were calm and even though they landed on me they were not angry.

I took the entrance block out to give more space.

Next week (weather permitting) we’ll open up properly.

Feeding

I decided it was time to give the bees a sugar hit in case their stores were low. I put a block of fondant icing on. Initially I could not see any bees from the hole on the crown board but I peeked after the fondant has been on for about 30secs. I could see at least one bee!!

Now to leave them for a couple of months.