My friend C has agreed to have some hives on his land. He has created a small oasis - lawns, apple trees, fire pit - at the back of his field.
I bagged a swarm last week, thanks to D, the local pest control operator. It's very late in the year for a swarm to succeed - but it was a big one. It was hanging in an apple tree about 2.5m off the ground. But a pair of steps and a hefty whack deposited it into the skep. First use of the skep, and I'm impressed.
The photo below is the "commercial" hive that I have chosen for this site. It was available - I had bought four complete hives from a friend of an acquaintance a while ago. But I had started off with WBC hives, thanks to my mentors D & M. Commercials and WBCs are different size boxes and frames.
It's not as pretty as a WBC hive, that's for sure. But I can't let them go to waste.
I have put an empty brood box on top of the main brood box to accommodate a feeder.
The palettes make a good level base, don't they?
The feeder is in the next photo. You can see the bees coming up from the brood box through a hole in the top cover, into the feeder, and then over the top until they reach the syrup. They consumed four pints in just a few days - and I gave them some more today. Dunno why the syrup is a bit yellow. It was Fairtrade cane sugar. Maybe I overheated it when I made it.
They seem quite defensive. There is a line of bees across the entrance and any wasp that comes close gets immediate attention - unlike the established hives that are more laissez-faire.
And yes, I have registered it on beebase.
Photos are not as good as usual because: a) I took them, not son T or son J; and b) they were taken on my iphone.
Tune in again in a few days' time. Honey harvest is pending!