Thursday lunchtime 18 April – we looked in the hive for the first time this year.
The super that we’d left on over the winter was full. It must have been re-filled with honey this spring and was quite a weight. Inside the main hive the bees were packed in. The colony had clearly not just survived, but had expanded up.
We didn’t see the queen but plenty of evidence she’d been active, i.e. tiny larvae and a large number of capped cells. We decided to do a split. It seemed to us that the colony would not stay long unless we created more space. We moved 4 frames of bees, capped cells and larvae into the hive we’d prepared ready.
We added a new super to the hive 1 to create more space to store honey and a super to the hive 2 and transferred into it a few frames of honey from hive 1 replacing the transferred frames with new ones.
We plan to check in a week’s time to see what’s happened to the frames we moved.
We forgot to remove the entrance block to the main hive – which, given the hot weather forecasted for the Easter weekend, was a mistake.
One bee in hive 2
It wasn’t warm enough at 10 degrees to open the hive today. Instead we prepared two spare hives set up with new brood frames ready for splits or swarms.
In opening up empty hives we found what turned out to be yellow jackets – about 7 or more. They were very drowsy. We removed them.
2018 was a good year. We started with a swarm collected in the summer of 2017. Since entering the hive the new colony collected on the right hand side of the hive and stayed over one side for several months. Over the spring of 2018 the colony expanded well and we took around three supers of honey in the summer – leaving a couple of supers for the bees for the winter. The honey taken in 2018 was good – light and very tasty. We start 2019 with one colony and plan to split the colony early spring.
22 February 2018. Two more slabs of fondant added to the top of the crown board over the holes.
As I took the lid off the hive it looked very quiet. I couldn’t see bees down in the frames but they soon started to crawl up as they realised their hive was being disrupted.
I quickly placed the pieces of fondant over the holes and replaced the hive lid.
The weather was damp, cloudy and 3.5 degrees. The forecast is for much colder weather. By the evening the temperature had dropped to 1.5 degrees.
Tuesday 16 January
Added two more slices of fondant. Approx, 11 X 15 X 1.5cm.
The bees were active around the holes and I put the tray lid of fondant over the holes on the crown board.
The weather was bright and sunny but cold. I added the fondant because the weather forecast is for a cold spell.
Note: We’d added a small amount of fondant on 4th Jan. This had been cleaned out.
As the weather was reasonably mild today 14/15C I took the chance to add more fondant to the top of the hive. (Commercial fondant this time.)
The fondant I’d added just a week ago had all gone.
I put the extra fondant on the top of the frames and in the holes in the crown board. As last time, the bees started eating it straight away.
15th November 2017, around 12C, overcast and still.
To add the (homemade – recipe PT) fondant I opened the hive and took off the last remaining super we’d left above the queen excluder. The super was empty except for a few bees. I gently brushed these off and stored the super in the shed.
I put the fondant on top of frames below the crown board and quickly put the top back on.
The hive is now down to the brood box.
Action: to add more fondant when the weather allows.