Laying, cleaning, and taking away

Due to holidays, it’s been a while since I updated here.  First the good news – we went back to the bees just before we went on holiday, and the new queen in the main hive has been laying.

That’s what we needed to see – lots of capped brood, with still to be capped larvae around it, and honey stores going in at the top.  So our new queen is preparing the colony for the winter.  We returned the Super we’d harvested to the top of the hive for them to clean, and then when we returned this weekend, our main job was removing it again, to leave each hive with just one Super.  This is easier for them to keep warm over the winter, while giving them enough room to store the food they’ll need to survive.  And we also needed to give them another Verroa treatment.  Next week, we’ll need to feed them.

A lot of us met up at the Training Apiary where my hives are kept, as Simon wanted to treat is as a learning opportunity too, and he had a new treatment he’s trying on some of the other hives.  I’m still trying out the mite powder I bought before, but since the main hive seems to be quite bad, I also put in some ApiGuard squished between the Super and the Brood boxes.

The main problem we had though was getting the bees to leave the frames we were taking away from them.








Above you can see my Super of frames, which had been pretty well cleaned out over the two weeks, with one of Simon’s behind it.  Between them is a Queen Excluder in a pillow case, sprayed with Bee Gone again – basically almond oil.  As with when we harvested, the bees hate this smell, and tend to go away, but I never did get them all to leave, so we had to drive home still suited up, and put the 2 boxes I took in the garage still with bees attached.  The other Super hadn’t had much work done in it – it’s the one we put on to replace the main box when we harvested – so they didn’t stay quite so attached to that.  And although the window is open, I still have bees in the garage.

But both hives are now just the Brood and Super boxes, as on the right above.  There were clear signs of laying going on in the second hive, too.

I got around 30 jars of honey out of this harvest.  I’ve handed some of them out, but the rest are at Simon’s being heated gently, to help clear them.  The twist lids don’t seem to be completely vapour proof – possibly because I over-heated them when I sterilised them, possibly just because the thread isn’t complete like normal jars.  But that’s making it harder for Simon and Caroline to heat them through.  Sorry guys =O{

I used two of the Teddy squeezy containers, and the rest in jars.  Once I have them back and labelled, I’ll post a picture.

But just to finish this posting, here’s a close up of the top picture, showing larvae in some of the still-open cells.

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