Author Topic: Beekeeping?  (Read 14257 times)

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #25 on: 15 June, 2008, 05:03:39 pm »
My older daughter developed an allergy as well, and that's when I stopped keeping them in the garden. That was in the early 1990s and she still carries an adrenaline pen, and panics when an insect goes near her.
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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #26 on: 15 June, 2008, 09:27:06 pm »
I keep several hives on an allotment plot in west London.  Its a fantastic hobby, but certainly getting more time-consuming.   And of course they always swarm when you are out cycling - no matter how good your swarm control techniques are!


rae

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #27 on: 15 June, 2008, 09:50:14 pm »
Always had a hankering for bees - apparently Central London hives deliver staggering amounts of honey because of the vast number of garden flowers.   Mrs rae is going to a meeting of the London BKA to find out more.   Anyway, with a bit of luck we're moving to the country soon enough, so I will be able to keep bees without the associated London "WTF do we do if they swarm" paranoia.  Got enough land to have a few pigs as well (clearly at the other end of the field from the bees), but pigs are proper stock and need serious effort. 

Pancho

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #28 on: 16 June, 2008, 07:42:53 am »
When I lived in London, there were hives on the roof of the flats we lived in. Never caused any problems.

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #29 on: 29 August, 2023, 01:07:16 pm »
I think I'm going for the World Record in thread necromancy here.

I'm about to recommence my beekeeping activities, rather by accident.

The Green Party locally has many of its meetings at the premises of Trustlinks, a local charity. They have a lovely site a few minutes' walk down the road from me, opposite Roots Hall. I was shown round by a friend a couple of months ago and she said they used to have beehives there, but the beekeeper was too old and gave up all his hives. I mentioned that I had a lot of hives in my garage and if they wanted them, the could have them.

One thing led to another and I agreed to be involved in the acquisition of some bees and to help with their care. It turns out that there's a beekeeper in Shoebury, Sian, who keeps bees on another Trustlinks site. I had a natter to her a month or so ago and she's got two colonies she wants to get rid of. As luck would have it, her bees are on 14*12 frames, which was what I used. On the strength of all that, I've bought a new bee suit, smoker and hive tool, and hopefully will be involved in the not too distant future. No doubt I will be stung again soon.

The good thing about having this charity involved is that I won't have to get rid of loads of honey, and will (hopefully) be able to train new beekeepers into taking over in due course.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #30 on: 04 September, 2023, 01:14:26 pm »
Progress!

Elias, the Trustlinks site manager locally, drove round this morning and picked up a load of bee boxes. At the moment the plan is for him and me to drive to Shoebury on Wednesday, after sunset, and pick up the two occupied hives that Sian will have closed shortly prior to our arrival.

I've been in touch with the Essex BKA with a view to joining again. They have monthly meetings, sadly on a Tuesday evening, so they will invariably clash with my choir practices.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #31 on: 04 September, 2023, 01:19:05 pm »
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Woofage

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #32 on: 04 September, 2023, 02:16:52 pm »
Honey bees will probably be fine, as beeks will create and put measures in place to partly mitigate the threat of the AH. It's other pollinating insects that will likely suffer further.

Varroa is successfully dealt with now through hive management and treatment and has become part of beekeeping life. I expect the same will happen with the asian hornet, sadly.
Pen Pusher

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #33 on: 06 September, 2023, 06:17:03 pm »
I'm off to collect a couple of colonies this evening. One is a full hive, the other a nucleus (young queen on 5 frames rather than the full 11 or 12).

I have a feeling that Sian has made a bit of a mistake. She says she took the nucleus from one of her sites to her house. "There aren't many bees in there." she said. Well, since the two sites are only a little over a mile apart, that's not surprising. There's an old saying "Move a hive under 3 feet, or more than 3 miles". The distance a bee is likely to fly from its hive is reckoned to be no more than 1.5 miles - possibly a bit more if, for example, they are in a narrow-steep-sided valley. So if she has moved it from one site to another, most of the flying bees will have found their way back to the old site, and to find their hive missing... I hope I'm wrong.

But I can't criticise. I haven't played this game for over a quarter of a century, she's got a lot of recent hands-on experience and she is generously giving us a load of bees.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #34 on: 06 September, 2023, 06:20:04 pm »
Honey bees will probably be fine, as beeks will create and put measures in place to partly mitigate the threat of the AH. It's other pollinating insects that will likely suffer further.

Varroa is successfully dealt with now through hive management and treatment and has become part of beekeeping life. I expect the same will happen with the asian hornet, sadly.

I must say I don't know how you keep the Asian hornet away from your hives. With varroa, so far as I am aware you can only treat the adult mites, as the mite larvae are sealed up inside the cells with the bee larvae. And of course I have never treated a hive for varroa.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #35 on: 06 September, 2023, 07:15:55 pm »
Just been reading up about varroa pesticides and there have clearly been developments in the last 25 years. I think I'd like to see someone else doing it first before doing it myself.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #36 on: 06 September, 2023, 09:19:17 pm »
Well, we've moved the bees and no-one got stung.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #37 on: 08 September, 2023, 04:40:17 pm »
I opened the hives this morning.

The small one has no chance of surviving the winter. I didn't find a queen, but there was some sealed brood so she had clearly been there. I suspect that this was a "cast" - a small swam of a few hundred bees that emerge with the second, or later, queen from a swarming bigger colony. There were 5 completely undrawn frames of wax foundation totally untouched by the bees, and a little bit of gash comb that they had built, with a handful of bees and some brood. There are no stores. I'd made up some sugar syrup and fed them, but I think it's a bit pointless.

The other colony was a lot stronger, but still not a full colony. There were only 7 frames in the hive, and they were building gash comb as well. There was plenty of sealed brood, but no unsealed brood. I didn't find the queen, but the presence of sealed brood but no other implies that she went off lay in about the past fortnight - which is to be expected. They may have enough stores to get them through the winter. I'll probably feed them and fill the hive with more frames. Will have a think and a consult.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #38 on: 23 September, 2023, 03:59:39 pm »
I've just prepared 3 gallons of sugar syrup to feed to the "good" hive. I'll go down there in the morning and open up. At some point I will merge them, but probably not tomorrow.

I found more kit in the garage, including a couple of big wooden feeders.
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sam

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #39 on: 24 September, 2023, 11:47:51 am »
I think I'm going for the World Record in thread necromancy here.

I’ve never understood the horror at thread necromancy on so many other forums. Personally I think it’s one of the best things about this format.

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The loss of humanity I could live with.

had me doing my own dig, your dispatches a beelightful {sorry} trip to a strange world I mostly avoid, buzzing setting my nerves on edge. Possibly because I got stung lots as a kid, and an old family friend died by bee.

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #40 on: 25 September, 2023, 09:05:32 pm »
"The loss of humanity I could live with" was a casual comment elsewhere by a good friend, talking about the current state of ongoing extinction in the world. Its self-contradictory nature appealed to me.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #41 on: 25 September, 2023, 09:27:03 pm »
Yesterday's feeding session.



The kit I took to the apiary. The big bottle contains 3 gallons of 2:1 water:sugar solution. The square wooden box is a large feeder. It's waterproof - I checked - which is pretty impressive for a bit of kit I bought second-hand in 1986. It's made of cedar, plywood and silicone sealant.



The hive with too few frames.



"Gash" comb the bees have built in the gaps. I should have given them more frames earlier, but I wasn't really prepared for taking them on when I did. I didn't expect the previous beekeeper to leave a big gap where they could do this. There are several pounds of honey in there, and I've stolen it.



Three gallons of syrup really does look quite insignificant in a feeder that size. I'll go back in a few days and see if they've finished it.

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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #42 on: 02 October, 2023, 03:38:15 pm »
Well, that didn't work. They'd taken some of the syrup, but the rest had gone mouldy and I had to chuck it out. I think it might be a bit late to feed them sugar syrup now, but they've got quite a lot of stores in there. I gave them two packs of pollen substitute today, so hopefully they will manage that OK. I might try feeding them again, but with small quantities and see what happens.

I've still not found the queen. I can feel myself being a bit daunted when there are lots of bees buzzing about me.
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Woofage

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #43 on: 02 October, 2023, 04:28:32 pm »
Well, that didn't work. They'd taken some of the syrup, but the rest had gone mouldy and I had to chuck it out. I think it might be a bit late to feed them sugar syrup now, but they've got quite a lot of stores in there. I gave them two packs of pollen substitute today, so hopefully they will manage that OK. I might try feeding them again, but with small quantities and see what happens.

I've still not found the queen. I can feel myself being a bit daunted when there are lots of bees buzzing about me.

Top tip: 2:1 syrup doesn't go mouldy as quickly as 1:1 (and it's half the weight to carry  :)). 2:1 syrup with a bit of thymol dissolved in IPA added doesn't go mouldy at all :thumbsup: I've got a few litres in a jerrican in my garage that's probably 2 or 3 years old and it's perfectly fine (I've not had to feed any of my bees since then).

I've had an odd season. One of my colonies has produced 7 full supers of honey, and still has 2 on the hive for winter stores. The others, zilch, well not enough to take any away. One is now hopelessly queenless, presumably as a result of me reducing them from double to single brood (they were a united colony) and losing the queen in the process. Whoops! Better get that sorted in the next couple of weeks. Oh, and wax moth has destroyed some of my spare frames and bored a hole in a poly nuc  >:(.

If it's any consolation I'm in my 5th year of beekeeping and I've only ever seen a queen once. I just rely on the presence of brood to determine if a colony is queen-right.
Pen Pusher

Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #44 on: 29 November, 2023, 02:32:16 pm »
Well as it was my thread initially here goes... if I were deploying those feeders I would put some straw in the main chamber as trust me bees will get into there and drown often in hundreds as when the level drops they start paddling and it gets deadly. Also a float in the initial access area.

I have a article on my FB group called "Help I bought the wrong nuc" and in it I describe how simple it is to change from one frame size to another. People get all wound up about it but honestly its very easy to resolve. In the active season put the wrong size unit on the floor. PUt a sheet of ply big enough to support the new brood chamber and cut a hole in the ply to allow the bees to go up. If you can find the queen then great and pop her up and cover the hole with excluder. If she is un-findable then no issues she will go up eventually, queens love to get  up, and when she is up there and laying again insert the queen excluder, and a few days later check to see there are fresh eggs and there you are. In three weeks time the bottom box will have hatched out and the top box can be set on an appropriate floor and the colony managed as normal. I've done this many times and never failed. KISS.

Queen finding...If you can find a beekeeper with over ten colonies and ask for a queen finding session. At that number of colonies their eye will (probably) be tuned in and can show you the dodges. Once your eye is in that's it for life.


Pete aka Shen aka PH
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Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #45 on: 29 April, 2024, 01:05:51 pm »
Well that was an unwanted interruption to the morning. My colony has swarmed. I haven't even opened the hive yet as it's been too cold, apart from the days I was driving to Pembrokeshire or stuck up in Nottingham.
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Woofage

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #46 on: 29 April, 2024, 02:50:27 pm »
Did you manage to catch them?

I've been to my apiary only once this season, to put in queen excluders and move the supers I had placed under the BBs as winter stores back on top. I've lost two colonies - one was a swarm caught late in the season so no real surprise.
Pen Pusher

Wowbagger

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #47 on: 29 April, 2024, 07:07:32 pm »
I've just been down to check and they aren't there. They were more than 15' up in an oak tree so trying to catch them was a non-starter. There has been an unoccupied hive right next door to their own since the autumn (it had a tiny colony in it that had no chance of surviving the winter) and because the apiary (only one hive at the moment!) is at the https://www.trustlinks.org/ Charity site, I felt it politic to show that I was Doing Something. I set up an empty hive with a floor, crown board, super and a small feeder with some syrup in it. If on the off chance they have taken up residence in there, then I will look really good! But the place is locked up for the night and I messaged the manager this morning to say I planned to go tomorrow afternoon anyway, and it was then that he told me they had swarmed.

I'm just hoping that there aren't multiple swarms, as I've seen that before as a succession of queens emerge from the cells. The hive the swarm came from looked quite placid this morning and were showing no sign of aggression when I put the empty hive about 8' from theirs. I have known hives that have just lost a swarm become really aggressive in the immediate aftermath.
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Woofage

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #48 on: 29 April, 2024, 07:25:59 pm »
I had a swarm take up residence under the floor of an empty hive positioned so as to lure such a swarm. Apparently the bees don't read the same books as us, so I'm told.
Pen Pusher

rogerzilla

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Re: Beekeeping?
« Reply #49 on: 30 April, 2024, 10:13:05 am »
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-68924955

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.