Thursday, 30 April 2020

First Inspections.

So in the latest e-mail that was sent out to all members we appealed to members to send us some things to be put up on the blog...a way in these uncertain times of us staying a little more connected to each other.

This First post comes from Agnes and her family. Agnes attended the grantham course last year and got her first hive at the end of summer 2019. Jaques is her son and got very involved with the course...attended the practicals in 2019 and this year became a junior member of the District. Jaques has done his skill set element of his 'The Duke of Edinburgh Award' on beekeeping.

Here are some of the pictures of our inspections


      (1/4)                 

Super on and new hive after 1st inspection
Not removed the entrance block as it was too cold
(4/4)

First opening and we found our queen, marked her.

We have noticed the new drone cells too


Everyone were involved as we are all on lockdown

(16/4)



Thursday inspection and they have been laying very well.
They have started to build in supers.

(21/4)
Inspection done today and the hive is really busy. Super frames filling nicely.
More queen cups on frame 4,6,8


And we saw the queen today!
The queen was marked during our inspection on the
4/4 by Nathan (husband) she should really be green
for 2019 but yellow is more visible to me.

(Please click on images if you wish to enlarge them.)

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Belvoir Apiary.

So, back in January one of our members approached me asking for some help. Julian had been asked if he would like to take over looking after the hives that belonged to Belvoir Estate which he was very happy to do but he found when he visited the hives that they were rather grumpy so didn't want to tackle them on his own. One of our junior members is currently doing his skill set for the 'Dof E' on beekeeping so I thought this would be a great opportunity for him and so enlisted his help too!!
Jaques, our junior member getting kitted up.
One long line of hives...the first of 3.
As you can see there were quite a few hives to take a look at. This was done back in February. the reason I chose february to do this was because we needed to determine which hives did and didn't have bees in and to do it in the chillier months when the bees were mostly dormant meant that we wouldn't have so many potentially aggressive bees flying about.

WBC Hives
As you can see the hives are in quite bad shape on the outside and so will need cleaning up...the idea over the next couple of visits was to take off the lids and see if their were indeed any colonies inside.

Taking a quick peek.
This was made easier with the cooler temperatures and we could take a quick peek...if movement was seen we just shut the hive up...for those hives that didn't have any bees inside them we then started stripping the hives down and sorting out...
Sorting out the shed.
There is a very good sized shed on site so we gave it a bit of a sort out and then got to work sorting through the hives we found empty putting away in the shed any parts that were okay and making a huge pile for anything that was beyond repair so that it could be burnt.

A bonfire was needed for the stuff that
was unsalvageable.


Four hours later and we were about half way through the hives...we had found a few with bees in but still had many more to go. We called it done for the day though with the promise to get together again in a few weeks and finish off what we started.

A few weeks later we headed back out and Jaques joined us again...fortunately this was arranged just before the school closures and the lockdown so we got in just in time!!
whilst going through the hives we found quite a few mice...some in empty hives and also some living quite happily in hives that were being kept warm by the bees. With the 'cavity' walls inside the WBC hives the mice fine id easy to get around...they were a lot more about us disturbing them than the bees were!!
The most impressive find we had was this perfect specimen of
a queen hornet who had hibernated in the cavity of an empty
hive. She really was beautiful and I was sorry that we disturbed
her sleep too soon.
She soon started to move about and so we transferred
her to a safe place inside the shed near a crack which she
could get out of and covered her with some wood for
protection. 
                                 

A lake is close by through some trees.
The whole area is so natural it's a lovely place to be
and very well hidden from passers by.
Jaques coming for a look at the Lakes before we left.
After the two visits we were left with 8 hives that had colonies in...(there were 25 hives on site when we started)...some very strong ones too. Its amazing how resilient bees can be. These bees have been left totally to there own devices for at least 8 years!! There was an awful lot of equipment that could easily be re-used once its been stripped back and scorched and a lot of frames need to be made up before the job of transferring the bees into better residencies can commence!!