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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Opening the topbar or the first time this year

Hive opened on a lovely sunny calm day, about 14 c.

The photo above shows four bars, upturned and stood on top of the hive.

Several things to note:

There is still something to eat. The wider comb nearer the bar is still full of sealed honey.

The two pairs of bars show the beespace that that bees naturally make between comb. It's not regular. It is wider at the tip of the comb, where more bees need to pass one another, and narrower at the bar, where honey is stored, capped over, and through passage is not required.

The starter strip
You can see the groove that I have put in the bars - with a circular saw. I filled this with wax to give the bees a guide (a strong hint, if you like) on where to put their comb. They complied on most bars, but the central bars have crossing comb that is also glued to the inside of the hive, so I can't remove them for inspection.

Colour of the comb
The comb is quite dirty where the patter of many tiny, dirty, feet has walked. The cleaner comb is almost white, and obviously much newer.

Of course, one of the features of a topbar is that the comb that this year contains honey might last year have contained brood. Yum! A bit too natural for my liking.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Busy bees and yellow pollen

Yes, I know, pollen is often yellow, but this is bright yellow. I think it is daffodil, or perhaps Forsythia (sp?).

Both out-hives, a mile from home and a couple of miles apart, are bringing it in.

It's a lovely sunny day, but quite cool at about 11-12 c.

They are munching their way though the apifonda - especially the aggressive lot in the field.

All three colonies are doing well. Which one to raise queens from, that is now the question? Certainly not the aggressive ones. We will see. More to follow on this subject.