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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Woodpecker damage

Just noticed this on my commercial hive that is in a field in the middle of nowhere.

What a nuisance!  Will have to invest in some chicken wire before it gets any worse.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Disaster! A dead colony

My best colony has starved to death. I am bereft and very cross with myself.

It was fine a couple of weeks ago, and the hive next to it is fine.  I guess it just didn't have the same amount of stores.

And the hive that survived had fewer bees going into the winter.

I will be much more careful in future and feed syrup even when it doesn't look as though they need it.

Cleaning off the brace comb

If your queen excluder is not touching the top bars and is not a complete bee-space away from the top bars, the bees will make brace comb between the QX and the top bars.

And I have scraped it off.

Had an interesting talk at the BeeSoc recently on beespace, and this was one of the messages. Pay attention to correct bee space and your hive will be much less clogged with propolis and brace comb.

Nasty looking insect

Dunno what this is - but it doesn't look good. It had pupated between the lifts of the WBC hive.

Pollen wallah

There were a number of bees, but not many, who were noticeably covered in pollen (rather than just have it attached to their legs). Centre of photo.  They were so yellow that I thought for a second or so that they were wasps.

Maybe they are the pollen-putter-away-ers.

What to do with this sugary mess?

The photo below shows a mess of unused stores from the winter. It's a mixture of ivy honey and fondant.

It looks like they have cleared out the cells ready for the queen to lay in them.

So I don't want to junk the frame.  But they will never clear all that grot, which reduces the capacity of the brood box.

Dunno what to do. I don't have the experience.  Sigh. Another few decades should do it.

Polyhive? It leaks!

The polyhive (see previous post) that I assembled leaks!

I left it in the garden and returned to move it a few weeks later and the feeder was full of water.

The fault lies in the design. The lip that is present in the other boxes (brood, super, floor) is missing from one edge, where the feeder lid is.  See below. You can see bottom right where the lip finishes.

The solution is relatively easy. The run-off cut-out on the roof (see below) needs a chute adding to channel the water off the roof and prevent it from running down, past the missing lip, and into the feeder.

It's not that easy to see in the photo, given my brilliant (!) camouflage painting, but you can just discern the cut-out in the centre of the photo.
I shall be on to the vendor and report what they say.

Feedbee? Bah!

About a month ago I put some Feedbee into all four hives. Two had it as a syrup and two as a slush on the top bars.  In neither case would the bees touch it.

Photo below shows the dried up remains of the slushy version.