A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Apiary visit 28/11/2011

On Monday I did my first apiary visit since 25th October. In the time between then and last Mondays inspection I have been worried about my buzzy little workforce. Things like have they enough food, have they been attacked by wasps or woodpeckers, has the wind blown the hive over etc. have been running through my head.

When I arrived at the allotment I was relieved that the hive hadn't been blown over but there was a distinct lack of activity outside the hive; I watched for about 5 minutes and saw no Bees. When I had suited up I went into the apiary and at that point saw my first Bee of the day entering the hive, I felt reassured for seeing her. The next thing I did was to gently tip the hive to see if it still had any weight to it and was happy that I struggled to lift it one handed; I have read that this is a good test to see if the have sufficient stores. There still wasn't much activity so I put a mouse guard on the entrance. A mouse guard works in a similar way to a Queen excluder in that it provides holes big enough to allow Bees out but not big enough for mice.

After I'd done everything that needed to be done outside the hive I lifted the top off and had a look inside. The fondant that I had put in last time was almost gone so I added another block of it. At this point loads of Bees flew out of the top and started buzzing round me but not too aggressively; some were flying straight at my face but most were just curious. This was a good sight for me as it showed that the hive still had plenty of occupants. As the temperature was dropping at this stage I decided to call it a day and not open the brood chamber. I didn't want to risk them getting too cold and developing any problems in the brood if there was any still present.

A small amount of fondant is visible at the bottom of the tub