Saturday, March 29, 2014

More prep and a trip to the bee shop.!

Oil seed rape is already in flower, as too, is just about ever early spring flower you can think of, its a bonanza for our bees but a shame the last week has really been too cold to forage in great numbers.

I did a favour for our local farmer and couldnt help but think, oh well, I was actually going right past my local bee shop, so i paid a visit whilst en route with some large metal gate sections.

Found myself a nice little pollen trap, so i can store a little pollen for use when i insert my grafts in to the queen production hive. Although not essential, its a good idea to have pollen in very close proximity. I also didnt know, until recently, that you can harvest pollen from each hive, for one day or two, preferably a day apart, then freeze it down until you need it.
You can then pour a good handful of the stuff and rub it in to a drawn up frame, then insert that in to the hive when needed, making feeding larvae so much easier for the bees. The one I bought wasnt the one I had intended to buy, but its a real beauty, and you can retract the reduced hole section and allow the bees to come and go, rather than give up their pollen load, which is a nice feature.
Pollen is collected in the draw beneath.

I also bought some extra supers and hive bodys. The wood is excellent quality from this shop and the price is good.  All their woodwork is also sanded to a good finish , which i like too. This will give me a few more hives to make up over the spring and summer should I have need for them and capacity to have an extra super for nearly all my hives in honey production. I will be fitting a piece of 25 x 25 mm pine around the upper third, making the supers easier to handle the little handles cut in to the 25mm sections are ok, but not that practical when handling them full!! (

I have also made up another roof for a hive that was spare last summer. I lent the hive to a friend in order he could copy it, then realised it had no roof  when I collected it last week. I used 3 pieces of  15mm exterior and one piece of 10 mm for the sides of the roof and the top was made from the weather proof fiber board, ( grade 3) moisture resistant, but was from the skip! I will try and make more roofs like this, as its reasonably cheap and although the production ones from this shop are really good, they still are 20 euos each!!!

Painted up with roof attached ( metal sheet from printers again)

 Roof in situ!!

Electric bees!!
Well there was some other very good news, in that a colony of bees has established itself inside a large concrete pylon, that is actually situated on the land of a fellow beekeeper, just over a kilometer from me.
This is excellent news, as it could be there for a long time, as no idiot will be able to cut it down, as they probably wood do, if it was  in an oak tree. This colony will be swarming away for generations to come!!

Will have another very quick look in to my hives, nearly two weks since my last feed of three. hopefully they will be increasing in size well!
Good weather forecast for tomorrow and the next week, temperatures near normal  which is good news for the bees!!

Enjoy!! I will !! once i`ve made a start on painting up those supers!


  1. Will you take honey from the OSR this year? I had a quick look today and the colonies haven't really built up enough to put a super on. Plenty of stores so I don't need to feed but only three frames with brood.

    Actually I don't mind as I find OSR honey a bit bland but it's useful for gifts!

    1. This is an interesting dilema unfolding for this spring. Your bees, like mine are not up to anyway near enough forragers yet and are conentrating on brood rearing, so all well and good, after all, it is only the last day of march!! but as you said your hives , like mine yesterday (when last looked) are quite full of honey from this winter so we need to watch the queen has enough room to lay.
      Putting a honey super on with queen excluder, is really the only way forward to stop the queen laying in to the honey supers, and if we dont put it on when we come to harvest in mid may, we will also be harvest eggs, larvae and brood that the colony will need! (and we must harvest in may to avoid chrystalisation)
      iIwill be trying to keep a very close eye on the brood size availible to the queen, if i take spring honey it will be from mid Aprill and not before, but expect swarming to be underway very soon, unless you can spin a full frame of honey from the extremities ofthe brood chamber, or insert a freshly drawn up frame your ueen will struggle this year to stay put.

      If you remove frames of honey, this can be used in artificial swarming(in your nucs) in another month or less. but also watch as theres the potential for a very quick build up this spring!!

  2. Just taken our first swarm. It came from the top bar hive so we couldn't have seen it coming but anyway we have been away. Lucky to have been here for the swarm.
    The other hives are chock a block. I didn't super during the OSR but will have to soon,
    What about you?