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hmm, bees
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sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 6:32 pm    Post subject: hmm, bees  Reply with quote    

We lost our hives over the winter, but being hopeful we left a prepared 'blank' hive out in case a swarm moved in. Just been over to Gareth's mum's place, where siad hive lives, and its full of bees. Yay, we thought, bit late, but not going to turn our noses up at even a small swarm.

Had a good look inside the hive, they seem to have been there for a few days at least and are busily storing honey in the brood chamber and glueing up bits of hive with propolis- but, no sign at all of a queen or any brood, and a few cells looked a bit mouldy and manky- though that could just be the result of the rotten recent weather.

All a bit odd, I'm not holding out much hope for this lot, active though they are. At best they'll do the garden some good i think before petering out.

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34886
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Is it worth giving them a couple of frames of fresh comb?

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Jamanda wrote:
Is it worth giving them a couple of frames of fresh comb?

possibly, what they have is drawn but fairly old, which is probably why bits have gone a bit mouldy if bits have got damp- will have a look at them again next weekend and if there is any sign of brood I'll start swapping in nice fresh stuff, I always understood that you got brood fairly immediately a swarm settled though.

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34886
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sometimes you get swarms with virgin queens that still need to go out and do their stuff I believe.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thats a thought, if its a late warm from a stray queen cell that might be it. Will see if they are still looking healthy in a week

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35863
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Jamanda wrote:
Sometimes you get swarms with virgin queens that still need to go out and do their stuff I believe.


I think that that's what 'casts' are? Good luck, Sally.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8404
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Jamanda's right.
If it's a cast & not a prime swarm then you will need to wait a week to 10 days to see eggs & brood.
If you have foundation ready might be an idea to shake them down onto new foundation before the queen starts to lay or if you think its not to bad just take out the worst frames & put some new on the outsides.
Glad your back with some bees.

sally_in_wales
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Posts: 20809
Location: sunny wales
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Ideally it all needs replacing, but its probably worth waiting to see evidence of brood before making up new frames in case it comes to nothing and the frames end up sitting warping quietly to themselves til next year.

Faithmead



Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1228
Location: Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hmmmmm...being a less than novice Novice.....do bees just 'move in' to a hive if they happen to come across a vacant one?? Do you like, wait to see what happens and hope? Can you go and 'collect/buy/find' a swarm to install in the hive???

Sorry, probably a lot of raised eyebrows at my questions....but I've absolutely no idea how this all starts out?!

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35863
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 08 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

No raised eyebrows at all. Yes, yes and yes .

But. If you cross your fingers and wait, you might get a tiny swarm that will have difficulties surviving (ie, a cast, as might be the case with Sally's - a secondary swarm with a virgin queen after the main one has gone from an existing hive); and you don't know where it's come from, so the bees might be diseased, or have unattractive traits like bad temper.

Or, you might get a lovely tempered, strong colony.

My Ma got one come to her empty hive last year that was really strong and busy. But they didn't survive over the winter - varroa, probably.

Faithmead



Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 1228
Location: Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 08 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

So does that mean, if you're lucky, you could get a swarm that' is 'good' tempered? What makes them a 'bad tempered' swarm?

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35863
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 08 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Faithmead wrote:
So does that mean, if you're lucky, you could get a swarm that' is 'good' tempered? What makes them a 'bad tempered' swarm?


Yes. The colony normally take their temper from the queen. I think they can be bad tempered if they have an old queen, or if they are waiting for a new queen to hatch. Or if the queen is bloody minded. So you replace your queen with a different one and that should cure it.

They can also be bad tempered if they're hungry - for example, Mochyn hosts our bees and they have been very cross about her and The Old Chap picking raspberries, because they wanted to forage on the flowers. And atmospheric pressure can also affect them - they get grumpy if it's thundery.

They really are interesting; even when they are chasing you away from their hive .

Mary-Jane



Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 18397
Location: The Fishing Strumpet is from Ceredigion in West Wales
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 08 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Chez wrote:
The colony normally take their temper from the queen. I think they can be bad tempered if they have an old queen, or if they are waiting for a new queen to hatch. Or if the queen is bloody minded.


No wonder Gervase calls me his 'Queen Bee'

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35863
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 08 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Mary-Jane wrote:
No wonder Gervase calls me his 'Queen Bee'


Just try to remember he know *nothing* about bees .

Quail By Mail



Joined: 11 Apr 2008
Posts: 295
Location: Brixham, South Devon
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 08 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sort of off thread...But who are the 'bee people' on Downsizer?

I'm starting a bee course with my local Devon Beekeepers Association, Torbay branch next weekend.

I'm a complete and utter novice but my grandparents had a commercial pitstone fruit orchard in British Columbia and about 50 beehives scattered around the orchard. So I had 'access' to bee hives from a very early age so I have an 'instinct' for it. I've planted bee friendly shrubs and perennials and pruned an old buddleia to be more productive flower-wise and one of the neighbours has a huge flower garden so I'm itching for a hive.

Who's into bees? And what is the good and downside to beekeeping?

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