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There used to be a very entertaining thread (started by  @MildredM) called something like 'wild in my garden'. It seems to have been lost.

So for those that fancy a drop of DIY Honey Process with their Alta Rica feast your eyes on this swarm of bees from two days ago. It was so heavy that as I persuaded them into a starter home the branch went up a couple of foot until I was holding their new home at head height! Look carefully and you can see the mass of bees is going a fair way up the Horse Chestnut branch and is a couple of feet long and  as fat as a rugby ball.

 

@Hasi

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1 hour ago, Batian said:

There used to be a very entertaining thread (started by  @MildredM) called something like 'wild in my garden'. It seems to have been lost.

So for those that fancy a drop of DIY Honey Process with their Alta Rica feast your eyes on this swarm of bees from two days ago. It was so heavy that as I persuaded them into a starter home the branch went up a couple of foot until I was holding their new home at head height! Look carefully and you can see the mass of bees is going a fair way up the Horse Chestnut branch and is a couple of feet long and  as fat as a rugby ball.

 

@Hasi

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Do you have a nice new hive for them to move into? Looks like I nice swarm. If your not keeping them you should contact the local beekeepers association, I’m sure they will have someone happy to take it treat it and house it 

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Posted (edited)

I help out a chap (as I did his father before him) who keeps bees. Some 100+ hives at the present count!

He is a lorry driver so I 'do' the swarm when he has his feet up outside a roadside cafe! He is always on the end of a phone when I need (often) advice.

I have put them in a 'poly nucleus hive' with a mix of new and old frames. You have to keep your fingers crossed and hope 'Mother' decides to stay. If not, you need a stock of alternative hives. A bit like a "bee estate agent". Some like old, some like new and a good bet, is a mix.

The swarm stays in the 'nucleus' hive until they are big enough to move on to a larger home. With this swarm, it will not be long. 

@Dougieboy

   

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1 hour ago, Batian said:

I help out a chap (as I did his father before him) who keeps bees. Some 100+ hives at the present count!

He is a lorry driver so I 'do' the swarm when he has his feet up outside a roadside cafe! He is always on the end of a phone when I need (often) advice.

I have put them in a 'poly nucleus hive' with a mix of new and old frames. You have to keep your fingers crossed and hope 'Mother' decides to stay. If not, you need a stock of alternative hives. A bit like a "bee estate agent". Some like old, some like new and a good bet, is a mix.

The swarm stays in the 'nucleus' hive until they are big enough to move on to a larger home. With this swarm, it will not be long. 

@Dougieboy

   

I’ve been on a wild goose today collecting a swarm, sadly I was about five minutes too late. (Typical)

 There will be plenty more just now. All the best with your new (old) colony. 
will you treat and feed them for Varoa mite etc?  All the best Batian, always nice to hear from a fellow Beek

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another Norfolk beek here - although not taking any swarms due to lack of equipment and time to tend to more hives.  Its been a bit of a weird year so far, but production is going well so can't complain! 

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Dougieboy said:

I’ve been on a wild goose today collecting a swarm, sadly I was about five minutes too late. (Typical)

 There will be plenty more just now. All the best with your new (old) colony. 
will you treat and feed them for Varoa mite etc?  All the best Batian, always nice to hear from a fellow Beek

My 'hands on'  input ends when I have the swarm in the hive. My first swarm this year was 4th week of April. My last 2019 was  early August.  This swarm overwintered with me so it could get help. It is now a strong colony filling its 4th super. 

"The Head Beekeeper" will take them to the 'Nursery'. This is where all the new swarms are kept so that a closer eye can be kept on them dealt with as necessary. re Veroa 'the boss' tells me that a strong healthy hive will keep its self clean and treatment is only necessary when a colony is not in good order. There is some work going on at (?) Southampton (?) University looking into breeding bees that are better housekeepers. This may have come about as a result of bees being bred to be better honey producers  that have subsequently lost out on the housekeeping.

 

As there has been some interest here are the pics re the opening post.

 

I went to the housed swarm at 10pm to move them to The Nursery. There was still a few bees moocing at the entrance, so I decided to get up at 3am when it was cooler and totally dark to avoid having loose bees in the car!

At 3am, this is what I found. Probably 50% had exited and gathered over the front of the nucleus hive. I was worried I was going to lose them. A wooden hive was placed nearby as a possible alternative home.

The next pic shows the situation at about 5am. I think some had gone back in. I did a couple of tricks, consulted the Head Beekeeper and left them. The load strapping is prep for transport. Things improved during the day and by today I was hopeful that this big swarm was in the bag! The third pic was taken 5pm today. 

From the bottom it shows the brood box plus an extension with a feeder box next and the roof/lid.

 

 

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Edited by Batian
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41 minutes ago, siliconslave said:

another Norfolk beek here - although not taking any swarms due to lack of equipment and time to tend to more hives.  Its been a bit of a weird year so far, but production is going well so can't complain! 

Pleased to meet you buddy, would love to see some pics of your apiary, how many hives are you running this year. It has been an interesting season. 

 

13 minutes ago, Batian said:

My 'hands on'  input ends when I have the swarm in the hive. My first swarm this year was 4th week of April. My last 2019 was  early August.  This swarm overwintered with me so it could get help. It is now a strong colony filling its 4th super. 

"The Head Beekeeper" will take them to the 'Nursery'. This is where all the new swarms are kept so that a closer eye can be kept on them dealt with as necessary. re Veroa 'the boss' tells me that a strong healthy hive will keep its self clean and treatment is only necessary when a colony is not in good order. There is some work going on at (?) Southampton (?) University looking into breeding bees that are better housekeepers. This may have come about as a result of bees being bred to be better honey producers  that have subsequently lost out on the housekeeping.

 

As there has been some interest here are the pics re the opening post.

 

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Well that looks very healthy, I don’t think you will have much trouble there. I’m intrigued about this study at Southampton uni, that sounds very interesting and points to human intervention being detrimental to the Bees. That wouldn’t surprise me at all

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Hipsters

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Dougieboy said:

Pleased to meet you buddy, would love to see some pics of your apiary, how many hives are you running this year. It has been an interesting season. 

We're sticking to three hives this year, but help with our association and their hives so got plenty to do. 

Not wanting to start a full on argument this early in the morning but i'm very much of the opinion that varroa needs to be managed, regardless of the colony strength - varroa mites aren't something that can be controlled by the bees themselves (yet).  There is a load of research going on about bees that are more inclined to clean each other and remove the mites, but the biggest problem is the mites hide themselves from the bees (as i understand it) by mimicking their pheromones.

I do however agree that its most likely that humans are the most detrimental thing to the bees, mono crops, destruction of wild flowers, intensive bee farming and even hobbyists aren't great for them but equally i'm not sure just leaving them to their own devices is really an option anymore :( I guess we do the best we can to keep them healthy and happy!  

Edited by siliconslave
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56 minutes ago, siliconslave said:

We're sticking to three hives this year, but help with our association and their hives so got plenty to do. 

Not wanting to start a full on argument this early in the morning but i'm very much of the opinion that varroa needs to be managed, regardless of the colony strength - varroa mites aren't something that can be controlled by the bees themselves (yet).  There is a load of research going on about bees that are more inclined to clean each other and remove the mites, but the biggest problem is the mites hide themselves from the bees (as i understand it) by mimicking their pheromones.

I do however agree that its most likely that humans are the most detrimental thing to the bees, mono crops, destruction of wild flowers, intensive bee farming and even hobbyists aren't great for them but equally i'm not sure just leaving them to their own devices is really an option anymore :( I guess we do the best we can to keep them healthy and happy!  

I totally agree with this post SS, I spoke with an old Beek yesterday who puffed icing sugar into his hive and covered the bees, he said they shook and licked it and Veroa would be knocked off. Have you heard of such a technique? 
 

in terms of keeping Bees I’m very green but ide like to think I know right from wrong, and with the endless battles the bees have to contend with, we should be doing the very best for them. 
 

Dougie

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I've heard of the icing sugar thing, but not completely sure it realistically gets many mites off, or works for the whole hive.  You can use it to count the mite load on a sample of bees by putting a known number in a container with icing sugar and shaking them (disturbingly violently) - it knocks about 90% of the mites off then you can work out what your load is.

I do think we need a mixed, or integrated pest management strategy, thymol and oxycholic acid based treatments do work well but it seems to be worth drone culling as well, or even introducing brood gaps to help the control.

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I’m very interested in learning more about drone culling and introducing Brook gaps. Could you direct me to any literature on this Ss? 

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Theres a good guide on drone brood removal here: https://www.wimbledonbeekeepers.co.uk/FAQ_14_Drone_Brood_Removal_FV.pdf or this from some guy with a great tash: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/fighting-varroa-biotechnical-tactics-ii/  

The idea is the mites prefer the drone brood as its in the sealed cell for longer, allowing more mites to be hatched.  As its not all that useful to the hive you can encorage the building of drone brood by putting either drone foundation, a super frame or half and half into the middle of the nest then cut it out when its all sealed up - taking a good chunk of the mites out before they even hatch.

Brood gapping is a little more complex & i'm trying to get my head around it after a talk at the national honey show last year - a paper here: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/6/2302/pdf is hard reading.

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Here are some pics to illustrate my earlier posts re The Nursery.

They are all this years swarms apart from the three larger wooden National Hives. They are last years. Some swarms have already gone to an apiary in their wooden hives.

The new wooden hive third from the left was a swarm that refuse poly nuc's ,older hives  and any assortment of new/old frames. The changed homes 5 times in a day and a half. The fat lady finaly sang 'Home Sweet Home' to the tune of 'The Sting' when she was given a brand new box and new frames. In jest, I think it was because she had come from a posh new housing estate and was't going to downgrade! 🤣 

I think the boss's plan is for this nursery to become an apiary and a new nursery will be established next year.

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Here is a pic of a similar operation only this time, in order to comply with DEFRA Covid 19 guidelines re swarms and swarm collection, the boss did what is known as 'splitting'.  He selected those hives that had wintered well and were well stocked and took a coupe of frames of brood with at least one frame with brood at the stage when they could make their own Queen. After 14 days, the splits were reassessed for having a Queen, then 14 days after that assed again prior to bought in Buckfast queens being introduced in a controlled manner.  Some had virgin queens (a first for the boss) and some had mated queens.

Did it work regarding swarming. No. And do you know what, I have never had a problem with Social Distancing when I have been taking up a swarm! 😂

The large (WBC) hive in the foreground is the weak swarm that overwintered in my care. I tucked them in bed on cold nights. 😪

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And lastly, a couple of pics of this mornings swarm. It meant I missed my lunch and pint. 😬

 

Looks promising, but its not over till.....The Fat Lady sings!

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Always good to "bump into" fellow Beeks.....

I've "kept" Bees for quite a while (very hands off).
I used to be fairly active on a Beeks forum - and the endless arguments about different Varroa treatments/routines etc made the discussions on here seem tame!!!

Even at my local BBKA I have seen apparently quiet, gentle old men almost resorting to fisticuffs over wether "Icing Sugar" is a treatment, if "Oxalic Acid" is more harmful than good, if opening the hive at mid-night on 31 Jan to apply Oxalic is the "Silver Bullet" etc etc etc.

And as to fights over the "right" hive.....

Langstroth vs National vs WBC vs Dadent vs Commercial vs Top Bar............
then Poly vs Wood/Pine vs Wood/Cedar......

Stripping every last gram of Honey and feeding vs leaving them enough honey for the winter  

It makes Coffee discussions seem tame  

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Guys I know nothing about bees but have enjoyed the thread.  Keep going 

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On 03/07/2020 at 16:07, Drewster said:


I used to be fairly active on a Beeks forum - and the endless arguments about different Varroa treatments/routines etc made the discussions on here seem tame!!!

 

Ooops - sorry for dragging it into here then :D 

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On 03/07/2020 at 11:05, siliconslave said:
On 03/07/2020 at 11:55, siliconslave said:

Theres a good guide on drone brood removal here: https://www.wimbledonbeekeepers.co.uk/FAQ_14_Drone_Brood_Removal_FV.pdf or this from some guy with a great tash: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/fighting-varroa-biotechnical-tactics-ii/  

The idea is the mites prefer the drone brood as its in the sealed cell for longer, allowing more mites to be hatched.  As its not all that useful to the hive you can encorage the building of drone brood by putting either drone foundation, a super frame or half and half into the middle of the nest then cut it out when its all sealed up - taking a good chunk of the mites out before they even hatch.

Brood gapping is a little more complex & i'm trying to get my head around it after a talk at the national honey show last year - a paper here: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/6/2302/pdf is hard reading.

I really appreciate the links, very interesting subject, thank you

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Here we have a nice swarm which was collected last night. They will be going into a 14x12 National in a day or two (weather dependant) 

then the plan is to feed them up, treat them and get them strong for next season. Wish me luck guys

D0C08950-295A-4823-B4E1-8D097341A206.jpeg

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On 03/07/2020 at 15:11, Batian said:

Here is a pic of a similar operation only this time, in order to comply with DEFRA Covid 19 guidelines re swarms and swarm collection, the boss did what is known as 'splitting'.  He selected those hives that had wintered well and were well stocked and took a coupe of frames of brood with at least one frame with brood at the stage when they could make their own Queen. After 14 days, the splits were reassessed for having a Queen, then 14 days after that assed again prior to bought in Buckfast queens being introduced in a controlled manner.  Some had virgin queens (a first for the boss) and some had mated queens.

Sounds great, but are the bees socially distancing?

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Rob1 said:

Sounds great, but are the bees socially distancing?

with 60k in a hive (essentially a 1x1 meter ish box) they aren't great at it - that being said they don't have lungs the covid is going to have problems finding somewhere to infect...

Edited by siliconslave
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3 hours ago, siliconslave said:

with 60k in a hive (essentially a 1x1 meter ish box) they aren't great at it - that being said they don't have lungs the covid is going to have problems finding somewhere to infect...

That's DisGUsTING. If we were talking about 60k factory farmed chickens rammed into a 1x1 meter box there would be outrage.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Rob1 said:

That's DisGUsTING. If we were talking about 60k factory farmed chickens rammed into a 1x1 meter box there would be outrage.

Trust me, if they did not like it, they would leave, unlike broiler hens.

A single bee makes less than 1/2 a teaspoon of honey in its short life.

Bees are 'cold blooded' but they must maintain a a warm temperature over the brood and a cooler temperature elsewhere. Being cold blooded, they utilise the heat created by using their muscles, and cool using wings as fans and circulations. When you consider that a 1 or 2 C difference is life/death to the brood, they are amazingly efficient. On hot days, many bees are outside the hive to allow for greater airflow and thus cooling . This is also an indicator that the hive may be overcrowded and a swarm is likely. Pic below taken at 'The Nursery' on June 24th on a very hot day20200624_153157_resized.thumb.jpg.26103ef82589dab74e718f9bc464b1b6.jpg

They are a highly organised society. So much so, that when searching for a new home, the 'scouts' know how to measure up the volume of a site. I cant remember the detail, but  I think it is at least 15 litres  minimum. Any less and there is insufficient space for brood and honey stores to allow the colony to survive the winter. And all this without a tape measure or laser level and in the dark!

 

Back to the OP, this swarm was deemed big enough to go straight to an apiary and not spend time in The Nursery.   

 

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