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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Topbar is dead

Went to inspect the topbar only to find a pile of dead bees and the comb being munched by wax moth.

The only satisfaction was feeding wax moth larvae to the chickens.

They didn't starve, there was still honey in the comb.

Probably virus damage as a result of varroa. The topbar is hard to treat. You can't close it up for Apivar to have the maximum effect, and you can't dribble oxalic acid because the bars are closed up.

It might be possible to fume them using an oxalic acid heater and crystals, but to be honest, I'm not going to bother finding out.

I think the topbar must find a new home.

Monday, 18 April 2011

First try at queen rearing

Here are the apideas that I bought last year. They are Swienty brand - and there are many others. Reading the reviews, I think perhaps Swienty are not the best.

This first photo shows the mini-frame with the foundation strip, held in place by molten wax applied to the edges.

The second photo shows the feed chamber, loaded with Apifonda (bee candy) with a piece of balsa wood on top for bees to stand on rather than fall in and get stuck. Note the queen excluder on the upper right - to stop the Queen getting stuck in the apifonda.

Third photo is of the painted nucs. Each a different colour. Should be a green one, rather than two shades of blue, but I didn't have that paint in the shed. Note the entrance on the middle nuc is open.

Final photo is of the nucs in position. I stocked each one with 300gm of bees (well, OK, a scoopful) and a queen cell from friend Emma's gentle bees. She had eight QCs to deal with. So one of these queens (if successful) will go back to her.