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Posted (edited)

Bees are not meant to swarm in cool(er) and rainy weather like today. After I had taken the dogs for their afternoon walk I had a niggle that there was a swarm at particular apiaries. Two hives had been displaying signs that they would swarm, one did on Thursday as posted earlier.

So, it was raining and only 15C not ideal, but would you put money on it? 

This swarm was a on the large side. It hung about 3 foot in front of a row of hives, a couple of which are known to be on the sharp side! I got a hammering, suit now in wash to get rid of the attack pheromones.

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Edited by Batian
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8ACFD5CE-06E7-493F-8B00-D801A2B3409C.thumb.jpeg.c9979516dc61a4475007b03594bce4f9.jpegWell I managed to house my swarm, only for them to swarm Again straight away, so I put them back in the hive for second time. They’re a lively Bunch to say the least. Checked on them this evening and they’ve calmed down a bit. 

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Posted (edited)

I checked yesterdays swarm last night and moved the nuc out of ditch. 

Further check at 11am today and (when pic was taken ) at 3pm. 

I think the fat lady is singing.😂

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Edited by Batian
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I consider myself lucky as I live next door to a beekeeper, he has a few hives at his bungalow. This year I've been too busy but normally I have a greenhouse full of tomatoes and other stuff. For a couple of years I've grown cucamelons, there was a virtual motorway leading between the hives and the greenhouse. They seemed to like the fact there were endless flowers, I liked the fact I had countless pollinators visiting. bit off-putting at times as the greenhouse sounded like a hive with all the buzzing, 

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36 minutes ago, AndyDClements said:

......bit off-putting at times as the greenhouse sounded like a hive with all the buzzing, 

That is one of my biggest memories of starting bee-keeping. The first time I did an inspection on my own... what seems like "millions" of of bees buzzing angrily (see below) around your head.

While you know "rationally" that you have the right protective gear on....
and you know that as long as you remain calm you'll be "OK"...
You really feel the adrenalin pumping...

below: Experience tells you that if you are doing it right they aren't actually "angry" at all, as long as you are slow and careful they remain calm and pretty peaceful.

It is amazing watching experienced beeks doing a full on inspection/split or something with no protective gear at all!!! 
NB:  I always stick to wearing a veil at least - even just doing a quick inspection, and I wear a smock when doing any real work but I don't normally wear gloves.
I wouldn't ever recommend wearing NO GEAR but each to his/her own.

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There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Manic Obsession"

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In the last few days I have collected two mini swarms from 'The Nursery'. These bees should never have swarmed. It is a funny season. Fridays mini swarm has come home to the ICBU (Intensive Bee Care Unit !) and today's (pics below) will join it tonight. It is about as big as my clasped hands. The oak leaves give some clue to size. It was very subdued. 'The Boss' thought they may have been out all night and got soaked by a heavy dose of rain. They were not there at 1615 yesterday afternoon. However, checking half an hour later the 'nucleus starter hive' was humming and by 1600 they were active. Fingers crossed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

she looks like a good layer, nice and tidy - guess she was put on drawn comb as it looks a little dark for fresh foundation (although a load of mine is bright yellow from some pollen they were dragging in earlier this year!).

Were beginning to reduce down our hives for the year, seems super early but were coming to the end of the season now so not bringing all that much in at the moment despite the silly weather.  Last two Julys we had a bumper crop of weirdly minty honey from local linden trees ( linden trees smell like what? ) but thankfully nothing this year! 

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47 minutes ago, siliconslave said:

she looks like a good layer, nice and tidy - guess she was put on drawn comb as it looks a little dark for fresh foundation (although a load of mine is bright yellow from some pollen they were dragging in earlier this year!).

 

@siliconslave

This is one of those individual beekeeper debates!

"The Boss" likes to use new wax with swarms.

His late father, (whom I occasionally helped), a well respected BK both locally and nationally, always said to give  them the choice and mix good old wax with new foundation and let them choose. This morning I did comment on this frame,  that the Queen had chosen the old wax option. I got a wry smile.....

"The Boss" humours me. I am the man on the ground when he is at work so it's my call, and I like to follow his dads mantra. But thank heavens for mobile phones!

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Posted (edited)

Just a little update... @siliconslave  @Dougieboy @Drewster @Mark70

The mini swarm is still doing well and working hard. They have become quite well mannered, so I hope they come through the winter well.

The honey was been harvested a couple of weeks ago. 'The Boss' follows his fathers routine in trying to get the honey off about a fortnight before the ivy flowers. Ivy is the last big big supply of food and the idea is to make the workers keen to collect.  I have seen the odd bit of flowering ivy, but the bees are not showing any interest---just wasps and hover flies! This maybe because the local farmer has planted several acres of mustard on unused land to act as a 'green fertiliser' and ground fumigator. This is in flower so the bees are probably gathering on the mustard. The colour of the pollen would indicate so.

 Below pic show some of the buckets containing raw extracted honey from this years harvest. This will be  filtered again before sale. Each bucket holds approx 33lb of honey. Once the frames have had the honey extracted they are placed outside at the apiaries and the bees clean off any remaining honey...so nothing gets wasted! It tends to be a 'free for all' and you would not want to be in the middle of them!  The frames and the 'supers' (boxes) containing them will be replaced onto the hives to give the colonies more storage space for the ivy honey to be stored and used for winter feed. (see pic)

Every so often in the harvest and extraction process a frame gets broken and this means it cannot go in the (centrifugal force) extractor. So it is cut up and given to friends who enjoy the luxury of 'comb honey'! (see pic)

 

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1 hour ago, Batian said:

........ Below pic show some of the buckets containing raw extracted honey from this years harvest. This will be  filtered again before sale. Each bucket holds approx 33lb of honey. Once the frames have had the honey extracted they are placed outside at the apiaries and the bees clean off any remaining honey...so nothing gets wasted!

 

Another of those debating points!! :-O

Convention in my Association and gospel to my old mentor: NEVER leave out honey for bees to "clean up".....  "...encourages robbing..."... "..... spreads disease..."

I think you might have caused a war in P'Boro :-)  

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@Drewster

I am informed that is true for honey other than that from those apiaries that are local and from from which it came. Those colonies that have  supplied the honey in the first place,  have either already got the disease or developed an immunity for it?

A few years ago COLEMANS (at Norwich) imported cheap foreign honey that was spilled etc.  That caused disease problems to the Norwich beekeepers, as their bees had no defences to the imported diseases. Big row at the time, by all accounts!

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On 29/08/2020 at 08:29, Drewster said:

Convention in my Association and gospel to my old mentor: NEVER leave out honey for bees to "clean up".....  "...encourages robbing..."... "..... spreads disease..."

We very much subscribe to this theory as well, also encourages wasps which area bad enough at this time of year. 

You can get the hives to clean down extracted frames by putting a crown-board with one bee space on the top of the hive then adding the wet super over it (with another board on the top).

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I will pass it on.  Thanks.

I think the reply will be, sound advice to a smaller set up of one or two hives in the garden.

However, multiply that by a hundred or two. Just think of the logistics of identifying the frames and supers when you are extracting hundreds if not thousands of frames in order to return them to the same colony or even apiary! And that does not prevent disease transferring  when stacked, waiting for, during and after extraction. 

For the non bee keepers,, a 'super' is the name for the part of the hive that holds the frames that the bees lay-down the honey. In this case, there are 11 frames. 

Wasps are a problem but you just have to live with them and try and deal with local nests as well as possible. There is far more concern over hornets. We have a strong population this side of Breckland and they are dangerous even to a strong hive.

 

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