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.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Apiary Visit 18/07/2013

Another scorching day in the area I live and also the day I went to check on the Bees. Prior to my inspection I had made a few new frames up ready to be put in the Nucleus hive with a newly mated Queen I had seen last time I went. I'd also arranged to meet with my Brother-In-Laws Dad, Mick, as he has an interest in insects and Bees. He has several colonies of ants that he keeps. I may at some point get the pleasure of seeing them and writing about them.

We met at the land and got the smoker lit and suited up ready to look in the hives. It was sweltering heat and before long I had sweat pouring off me. We started with the Nucleus hive that had the newly mated Queen in it and I began transferring the frames to a full sized hive so they had room to expand. We did manage to see the Queen although she is slightly small at the moment, hopefully she will get a little bigger than she is now or I may have to replace her. There was also plenty of eggs and larva present so I'm hoping that she has bred well and will not need replacing. Due to her currrent size I decided not to mark her yet.

The next hive was my main hive and we found the Queen fairly easy in there as well. As I am trying to increase my hives I used something called a snelgrove board which I have made earlier in the year. The board is used to manipulate the Bees and can be used as either a swarm control method or for making increases while at the same time not interferring with honey production. It works by seperating the brood and the Queen making them think they have swarmed and reducing the tendancy for them to want to leave. The seperated brood, with its young Bees, will then create a new Queen effectively making 2 colonies altogether. From there you can either split the 2 brood chambers or unite them back to one, although you need to get rid of one of the Queens to do this. The method is easier to explain when you're at the apiary then in writing so will leave it at that! I will probably do a more detailed post when I can describe it better.

While we were checking the brood box I noticed that the Bees had created a full comb of honey where I'd left a gap. I managed to pry this out without damaging this too much and shared the comb with Mick. He was more than impressed to be taking some honey home with him! When I checked the super that I had above the brood chamber I was excited to feel how heavy it was and my next post will probably be about honey extraction!

Honey comb
Mick with the honey comb.

Honey comb
We couldn't find anything to put the comb in so it is wrapped in a couple of latex gloves!

Snelgrove Board
The snelgrove board. This is a picture of it unfinished. The finished version has a hole in the middle with a fine wire mesh over it.