Browsing Posts in Bees

It’s BUG DAY!

We love creepy-crawlies here at LEAF!

In fact, we love them so much, we’re having a whole day devoted to these amazing little creatures!

Sunday June 29th from 11.00am til 4.00pm, we’ll be throwing open the gates to welcome people to come and learn all about the lives of bugs.

We’ll also be having our beekeepers available, and if the weather’s nice, you’ll be able to see some of our bees and learn more about these amazing little creatures, about beekeeping and learn why it is so threatened.

You can download the poster from HERE.

 

Early this morning, there was some consternation down by the Plots as one of the beech trees across the road blew over, completely blocking the road to everything but foot traffic.  I’ll bet the bus drivers loved the little diversion through the housing estates.  Or maybe they didn’t.

Still, it meant that for once, it was quiet down the Plots without the constant roar of traffic, and Carol managed to persuade the tree surgeons to drop us off all the wood chippings they’d made in clearing up the mess.  A bit of a shame we couldn’t have some of the wood, but it did look rather big, exceedingly heavy, and apparently, all the wood went to another contractor.

Still, no worries.  We’ll now have plenty of wood chip for the area by the top wooden shed when we put the gazebos up when (if!), it gets warm in a few weeks time.

So for me today, it was all about our bees.

Our head beekeeper, Charles, arrived pretty early and we got suited up ready for action.

Today, we moved one colony from its ‘nuc’ into a full hive.

This was the swarm that Diane so skillfully caught last summer in the cardboard box, and though the colony was not as large as Charles would have liked, it was still large enough to spare two frames for the new arrivals as we moved it into its own brood box.

The centre hive, however, had fared much better over the long winter, so we ‘borrowed’ two frames of larvae and capped brood from this.

This left us with four frames of good, strong bees.

Charles had brought two new nuc boxes with him, and two new queens he’s received in the post the other day.  Surprisingly (…well, to me anyway…), yes, you are allowed to post queens with a few attendant workers, as long as they obviously can’t get out!

These two queens were housed in clear, smallish containers with vents on their sides, and the idea is that you should introduce them gradually to their new workers.

To do this, Charles put two of the full frames plus two ‘blank’ frames into each nuc, then sealed them up so the bees can get a chance to learn their way around their new home.

Oh, and when I say ‘sealed’, I mean he only sealed up the front entry holes. There is plenty of breathing space up through the bottom, so they won’t suffocate!

Then, Jon very carefully placed a queen in each of the new nucs, still her ‘royal box’, suspended right above where the capped brood was, hanging by a matchstick through the top of her box.

By doing this, her pheromones will hopefully mingle with those of the rest of the hive, so when Jon and I come to release the pair of them, probably Monday, there’ll be much less of a chance of the workers rejecting their new queens.

We’ll probably open the front doors at the same time to allow the foragers out to collect pollen and nectar.

So, hopefully by this time in a couple of weeks, we’ll be able to go in the new nucs again, and check that everything is well and that both queens are laying as they should.

We finally finished, and when I checked the time, I was astonished that over an hour had completely flown by.

Anyway, I’m going to have to leave it here for now.  It’s well past my bedtime, and I promise I’ll process the photos in time for Saturday’s entry.

Then again, if I finish off what I have to do early tomorrow, I may well spend an hour going through all the shots that PXI Nick took with my camera today.

So, Dear Reader, I’ll leave it there, if I may.

Pillow & Duvet calling a very tired Nick!

Phew! 13/04/13

That’s about the only thing I can say about today.

Loads of volunteers -even given the lousy weather, loads of visitors, and surprisingly, given all the visitors, loads was achieved!

I arrived well before ten to get stuff ready, but mainly to get the first pot of tea on.  I’d run out of tea bags at home, so unsurprisingly, I was pretty desperate!

I’d just got our friend Kelly the Kettle merrily brewing, when we had our first couple of visitors -Julie and her brother, Mick.  We stood chatting up by the top gate until Jon arrived and could let them in -my gate key doesn’t work!

Of course, our Honorary Vice ChairCat, Mitzi was soon on hand to welcome the pair of them, and luckily, they both love cats, so little Mitzi was in her element, bless.

New volunteer, Shaun, arrived pretty soon afterwards, and he quickly changed into his boots and sawed up the masses of holly Ian (no relation) and I had feverishly cut down last Sunday.  The larger branches are now just the right size to feed into the pizza oven, while all the smaller stuff has been safely carted down the the fire pit on the Children’s Plot.  We’ll burn this as soon as we can.  Yes, holly looks great, but that’s at Christmas, and those sharp prickles play havoc with wheelbarrow tires!

Julie and Mick stayed for nearly an hour, as more and more volunteers arrived and got on with their tasks for the day, and were pretty impressed as I showed them around.  They’d been past many times in cars or on buses, but never actually seen The Plots ‘up close’, and were particularly impressed with our bees.  This was just as well, because the weather this morning was pretty warm, so there were loads of them out, bringing in nectar and pollen.

As they were leaving, Jon said that he was leaving early this afternoon, and did we want to inspect the hives and possibly feed them?  Obviously, that was a ‘Yes!’

Our two remaining hives looked in pretty good shape.  The centre one had taken all its feed, and on inspecting the small ‘nuc’, we decided to feed that some syrup as well, as per Charles’ instructions.  Charles will be making a couple of visits this week, hopefully with a couple of new queens, and I’ll remember to charge the camera so I can take plenty of shots.  (Like a chimp, I’d forgotten it today.  Sorry!)

Pretty soon, Sara arrived, then it was time for lunch.  I’d been up to the local supermarket on my way over, and had loads of bread and cheese for everyone to share, of course over a couple of cups of tea, and we were discussing what needed planting in the greenhouse. Sara very kindly volunteered for this job, and we now have an entire packet of broccoli, and entire packet of white cabbage, and four trays of Savoy cabbage, all happily planted and watered in.

In a few weeks, if the weather continues to improve, we should have literally hundreds of seedlings in there, so we’ll have to have the beds ready for them all to go in!

Meanwhile, Gary and new volunteer, Shaun, were busy with the long bed by the metal shed I mentioned a few posts ago.  This is very slow work due to all the bindweed and other perennial weed in there, but they made steady progress.

I tackled a bed on the Children’s Plot, as Carol is thinking we should get some of the many pot-bound herbs in there.  We’ll see, but either way, it certainly needed weeding, and I have the nettle stings to prove it.  I also had to fight a load of dock plants with their massive tap roots, but since working on Area 34 last year, this was familiar work to me.

I was only a few minutes into my weeding when our favourite welder, who lives nearby, came down.  He brought his sister and brother-in-law, so I had to show them round, and as his sister and her husband are keen bee-keepers, they were very interested in our bees and the trauma we had a few days ago losing that hive.  They themselves have thirteen hives, but have lost seven of them over winter, so as I previously said, we’ve been pretty lucky this year only losing the one!

Matt popped in today, but he had stuff to do on his own plot, so didn’t spend much time with us.  Gerry, likewise had stuff to do -he didn’t even stop for a cup of tea!

All too soon, it was gone five o’clock, but luckily I’d finished the bed on the Children’s Plot, so we wearily packed up and made for home.  Not before I’d finished the last of the washing up and tidied up the top shed, though.

Depending on the weather tomorrow, I may just pop over to see how things are, but officially, I’m now ‘off-duty’ while next Wednesday.

Well, I say ‘officially’, but in actual fact, I’ll hopefully be seeing Diane on Monday, and any spare time in between, I’ll be working on iButtons and electric bikes.

So, Dear Reader, I’ll leave you for now, tired, but happy!

(P.S.  The other day I was browsing eBay (as you do), and came across ‘Hive Tools’.  A hive tool is a strip of stainless steel you use to crack open a beehive when you need to inspect.  Hives tend to get clogged with propolis, which is tremendously sticky.  Of course, I ordered one -I still can’t find the ‘official’ LEAF hive tool, so I intend to get mine stamped with at least my initials in it -just so we know whose is whose.  Of course, after getting a hive tool, I’ll need a bee-keeper’s smock.  Then a smoker.  Then a ‘nuc’.  Then my own bees.  It’s only a matter of time…)

Bees and trees. 07/04/13

Again today, it dawned bright and comparatively warm.  Well, I say comparatively warm, it’s certainly at least a couple of degrees down on where we should be for this time of year, but given the recent lousy weather, we’re pretty happy with this.

And most of our bees were happy too, today. The centre hive was very busy, while the ‘nuc’ was pretty active, and watching for a while, I noticed quite a few of the foragers coming back with ‘trousers’ full of bright yellow pollen.  As I’ve previously said, this means that both the queens are in there, and they’re both doing their job -laying the next generation of workers.

As I mentioned earlier, the far hive nearest Gary was as dead as a dead thing.  Yes, there were a few bees about, hanging around the entrance, but they looked dazed and sluggish, and there was certainly no foraging happening.  This means we’ve almost certainly lost the queen in that hive, but by all reports, having two out of the three still alive is pretty good for this year, so we can’t complain.Pear tree with a haircut!

Ian (no relation) texted me this morning, suggesting that we come out to ‘play’ for just a couple of hours, and as I needed to check on the bees anyway, it gave me the perfect excuse to get my ‘fun’ clothes on and trot over there.

As I arrived, Ian had started to get the tea makings out of the top shed, so I quickly got the Kelly Kettle lit for the first cuppa.

Ian today decided that he would finish off his work in the orchard, pruning back all the detritus and bad wood from our fruit trees.  This shot to the right shows one of the two plum trees after its haircut, and we agreed that there is a much better chance of actually getting some plums from this tree this year.

Gary soon arrived to tend to his chickens, then Matt, who’d come down to plant mini-pop sweetcorn.

Ian had brought down some apple strudel that wasn’t eaten yesterday, so we ate that, of course, washed down with copious amounts of tea, then carried on with our jobs for the day.

As Ian was about finishing with the orchard, I had a sudden rush of blood to the head and decided that the overgrown, and overhanging, holly that scratched you every time you went from our main plot to the orchard just had to be cut back.

Well, Ian and I attacked this with some gusto!Holly cut back

We cut some pretty hefty branches from the main tree, and as you can see from the shot to the left, while we’ve cut it back considerably, there’s still plenty to grow, and in a few months, it’ll still provide food for the bees nearby.

All too soon it was time to go.  Gary had loads to do on his plot, Matt was busy planting the mini-pops, and Ian and I had other stuff to do back at our respective places.

Anyway, there’ll be more fun and frolics from our Plots on Wednesday, so I’ll chat with you then, Dear Reader!

Not so good.

Jon and I have been feeding our bees through all this awful weather with a mixture of heavy sugar syrup, and last time he visited, Charles put a block of nectar and pollen mix over the far one nearest Gary’s plot.

It was this hive that we’ve been most worried about, and yesterday things kind of came to a head when we saw that while the middle hive was very busy, with workers bringing in loads of nectar and pollen on their back legs -as sure sign the queen is healthy and laying, this far one was the complete opposite.

Absolutely nothing happening.Our youngest beekeeper at a safe distance!

We got suited up, and young Adam, who’d come down with his parents Barry and Sairah was keen to see too, so we got him suited up, and warned him that things could get a little hairy, and should they get out of control, then he should run!

In the end, there was no need to have worried, because in this hive, it was as quiet as a morgue.

Starting at the top, Jon and I lifted off the various boxes, seeing millions of dead bees, crammed into every corner of the hive.Sudden hive collapse?

When we got to the bottom plate, we could see why.

What you can see in this sad photo to the left is the bottom cover of the hive, absolutely rammed with dead bees, four, or even five-deep, completely blocking the bottom of the hive, the air vents, and more importantly, the hive entrance.

Now, we saw a very small cluster of live bees in the middle of the main brood box, so we’re hoping that in amongst them was the queen, and that by today, they’ll have realised that everything has been cleared out, and that she’ll be laying again.

We appreciate, this is a big ask, and I’ll be sure to let you know on my return this afternoon.

Funnily enough, many beekeepers in Sheffield and the surrounding areas have been seeing the same thing -an apparently busy, healthy hive, suddenly ‘shutting down’.

Currently speculation is that it is a combination of the exceptional weather we’ve been experiencing, and also there has been some suggestion that pesticides could have something to do with this.

The BBC News website the other day reported in its ‘Science & Environment‘ section that researchers have proved that bees exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides seem to lose their sense of direction and their ability to remember just where the best foraging is.  As these bees are meant to do the famous ‘waggle dance’ to tell their compatriots this information, it means the hive is essentially blind.  They don’t know -they can’t remember! where the pollen and nectar are!

But hey, of course, the massive drug companies who make these awful chemicals aren’t to blame, are they?

Obviously not!

…And our alleged ‘MP’s’ seem powerless to stop these vast multinationals producing these toxins.

After all, they’ve got to make a profit, eh?

Of course, who do you think is sat on the boards of these vast multinationals, with non-executive positions, yet collecting huge salaries?

Ah.  Right.

That’ll be these same MP’s, will it?

A winter ‘check-up’.

Today, Charles, our head beekeeper came over to check on our hives.

Unfortunately, we’ve lost a couple of colonies over the cold period, but that leaves us with three -the same number we started out with last year, so we’re not too downhearted.

Last week, Jon and myself had put a couple of feeders on the two ‘main’ hives.  When we checked today, one of the feeders was entirely empty, but the other one hadn’t been touched, but as Charles said, that particular hive was left with masses of capped honey, and with the cold weather we’ve been having lately, the bees would rather tuck into this, rather than the long, cold climb up to the feeder.

So today, we warmed up the syrup in the one that hadn’t been touched, then warmed up some fresh for the hive that had taken it all.

Generally, Charles is pretty happy with our bees, and if Charles is happy, then we’re happy.

Next week, Jon and I will check the feeders again, and top up as necessary.

In the meantime, Bring On The Spring!

Yes, snow is great for Big Kids like myself, maybe for a day or two, but to be honest, the older I get, the less I can stand the cold, wet and miserable stuff that gets thrown on us every year.

Will this summer be any better?  No-one knows, but first, let’s get the Spring underway!

Thankfully, Christmas and the New Year are now finally out of the way, and we can get back to some semblance of ‘normality’ round here.  Whatever that is.

Tomorrow, the weather looks set to be fine and unseasonably warm, so hopefully we’ll have plenty of volunteers, all eager to shed a few calories from those mince pies and extra helpings of trifle over the Christmas period.

This next year looks set to be even busier than last year.  Hopefully, the weather will be much kinder to us, and from the plans and discussions we’ve had, both in the management meetings, and actually down on The Plots themselves, we’ll be hoping for a bumper year with loads happening and loads to do.

Over this holiday period, LEAF management has been busy with the Sheffield BeeBuddies Project.

Following from the successes of last season, BeeBuddies is expanding, both in the number of hives and sites it operates, but also, in the very near future, will be offering training courses for the public.  These will be for those who wish to learn more about these fascinating little creatures.

The initial half-day ‘taster’ sessions will be a gentle introduction into the art of beekeeping, and if the weather is fine, attendees will be able to get ‘suited up’ and go out to one of our hives, open it up and see the bees at work.

There will hopefully be further more in-depth courses, aimed at those wishing to study further, and maybe get their own hives for their garden.

You may want to visit that link above and maybe bookmark it, as it will be growing and changing all the time.

More very soon…

Whoooops! 09/12/12

Okay, so once again, it’s been waaaaay too long since the last post went up, but that, Dear Reader, is because we’ve all be busier than my cat at both his food bowls.

“Busy?  With WHAT??” you shout.

Our valiant volunteers, and the ever-dependable Diane have been busy designing, creating – and certainly selling! – a range of 100% natural beeswax candles and accessories that have been flying off the shelves!

Here in North Sheffield and beyond, with it being nearly Christmas and all, there have been a number of local ‘Christmassy’-type events, designed to help our local purse-conscious shoppers, and of course, help funding for local groups and organisations.

Inspired by an event Diane and I attended a couple of months ago on the possible uses of natural beeswax, she and our volunteers have been busy rolling and decorating candles, many with a Christmas feel to them, and have been exhibiting and selling them to locals.  And they’ve been going down like a storm!

At these events, not only can people buy ready-made candles, but for a very small fee, can also have a go at making their own, with materials provided.

Hopefully, in just a few days, we’ll have examples of Diane’s, and our volunteers’, work up for sale here on the site.  I just have to sort out the payment system, and get some decent photos arranged.

Catch you soon!

Totally chilled. 26/05/12

Yesterday, I spent virtually the whole day running around doing jobs I didn’t really want to do, seeing people I didn’t really want to see and finishing off boring stuff I wished I’d never started.

But then I was cool with this, for I knew that come late afternoon I’d be doing a job I did want to do, seeing over one hundred thousand guys I really wanted to see, and I certainly wouldn’t be bored!

So in the glorious sunshine of the late afternoon Diane, Matt, Jon and I had an appointment with our bees.A LEAF brood frame

What made this inspection all the more ‘fun’ was the for the first time, we’d be completely without our head beekeeper, Charles.  He’d be unavoidably called off somewhere urgent, so we were on our own.

Frightening!

What made it even more frightening was that we are just coming into swarming season!

Now, we weren’t frightened by the bees possibly swarming per se.  When bees swarm, you are less likely to get stung than at any other time!

When they swarm, the bees themselves are prepared for a possibly long journey, so they ‘fill up’ on nectar and pollen, and are so docile they have no intention of using their stingers.  Just imagine yourself after a huge Sunday roast.  All you want to do is ‘veg out’ in front of the TV.  Same with the bees, just without the TV!

No, we were concerned about swarming because we could potentially lose quite a few weeks’ worth of honey production.

We decided that Matt, Jon and I would take a hive each, while Diane oversaw the whole procedure, cameras at the ready.

Matt went first, and on opening his hive, we were pretty surprised to see that the ‘super’ (…honey store…) on the hive had hardly been worked on.A view of a brood frame.

Moving down, under the queen excluder, Matt opened up the top brood box, and we saw the reason why the top super had been so quiet.  The bees had been working down here, busily filling the new box with comb, then filling it with all manner of interesting stuff.

If you click on this photo to the left, you’ll see one of the frames that Matt removed.

The capped cells have larvae in them, ready to hatch in a few days.  Around this capped brood, you can clearly see the little ‘maggots’, swimming in nectar that will be capped soon, then further to the left of these, you can just make out even younger eggs that have only just been laid.

Fascinating, yes?

Now, can you spot the three male drones on this frame?

Two of them are in the centre of this photo pointing upwards, with the third still in the centre, but towards the bottom of the frame pointing downwards.  You can tell they’re drones because they’re bigger, and they have a characteristic ‘blunt bottom’, whereas the female workers have a much more pointy rear end.

When we saw this, we were greatly relieved.  It means that the queen is laying well, and on inspecting the cells, there were no signs of disease.A 'play cup' on the bottom of a brood frame.

This shot to the right shows another frame looking at it from the bottom.  The first thing to look for was just the sheer numbers of bees.  This appears to be a thriving colony!

The centre of this photos shows a ‘play cup’.  This is a dummy queen cell, and we checked it very thoroughly to make sure there wasn’t a young queen inside.  Thankfully, all clear!

Moving on to other frames, we noted that on a the bottoms of quite a few of the frames were these:-Capped drone cells.

These are capped drone cells.  You can easily spot these because they stand proud of the comb with little domes on them.  You can also see some young drone larvae about to be capped in the surrounding cells.  Notice as well all the nectar, glistening in the surrounding cells.  Just last week, this was fresh, new foundation!

Quick question: Can you spot the drones on this photo?  Top marks if you say up towards the top left of this photo!

Diane had spoken with Charles before we did this inspection, and he told her that if there were any queen cells present, then odds on, they’d be hanging from the bottom of the top brood frames we were inspecting.  There were none visible, so we were greatly relieved!

However, we saw lots of ‘bridging comb’ on the tops of the lower brood frames.Removing the bridging comb with the hive tool.  I removed this using the hive tool, as you can see in this photo to the right.  By taking this out, it should make it easier to take the brood boxes off in future.  Then again, the rate these hives are filling up, it’ll be re-made very, very quickly.

And so, to the ‘Main Lady’ of the day’s events.

Where was she?

Luckily, Charles had made sure on the last inspection that each of the three queens were marked with a white spot on their backs.

The white spot shows the queen.And here she is!

This is in the last hive that Jon inspected.  We assume other two had moved into the lower brood boxes as we opened them up.  As a rule, queens don’t much like the light or disturbance of a hive inspection, so they tend to hide away out of sight.

I’m sorry about the low quality of this shot.  Jon was moving this frame around quite a lot as I took it.

I’ll try to get a better one next time!

And so, to the title of this post.  You’re no doubt thinking by this that all we did was sit around ‘chilling out’, drinking tea!

Far from it!

No, the title for this post came from the almost overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility I felt as I walked home last night.

Yes, we’d spent over an hour in hot, sweaty suits, lifting pretty heavy frames, so the activity itself was far from ‘chilled out’.

Chatting with Diane about this later last night when she briefly came round to pick some stuff up, we both agreed that the ‘bee activity’ itself was ‘supremely chilling’.

There’s something so relaxing about working with bees.

Maybe this is why every beekeeper I’ve met has been this way.

I’ll chat with the others when I go over there today, and see what they say.

Maybe the ‘LEAF Effect’ is now combined with the ‘LEAF Bee Effect’?

Chilled.

 

Really buzzin’! 04/05/12

Yesterday, our Head Beekeeper, Charles, arrived to inspect our hives.

Great excitement!

Then Diane announced that a couple of bee suits had arrived from the Sheffield Bee Buddies Project.

This meant that two of us could fully accompany Charles in his bee manipulations.Inspecting the hives.

Even greater excitement!

During the project last year, we were all very aware that the hives sat on our Orchard Plot didn’t belong to us.  They were Jez’s, and we were always aware that whenever he came to visit us, he was seeing to his bees.

This year, it’s different.  This year it’s better, because in less than 12 months time, we’ll be fully responsible for the well-being of our hives.

They’ll be ours!

With this firmly in mind, Charles is very keen to ‘take a back seat’ and watch (…and of course guide…) us while we do stuff with them.

Hence all the excitement!

I quickly volunteered to don a suit, and was surprised to find that the suits supplied weren’t the full jobbies we’d been used to on the course we’ve just been on.

These little numbers were white jackets with hoods on, of course with tightly fitting waist and wrist bands.

Much better and certainly much easier to put on -there was no taking your boots off to get into them.

Bees at the feeder.Of course, you had to be wearing thick jeans, long socks and decent boots, but as this is ‘standard wear’ for The Plots, it presented no problem.

Last week, I’d been pretty concerned for the centre hive of the three.  During all that recent hideous weather, I’d checked the level of the feeder and found it unmoved, but more alarmingly, I’d noticed no bees whatsoever in the top of the feeder.

Remembering the lessons of last week, I’d very gently lifted the feeder and poured a little of the syrup right down into the super and brood box beneath it.  This was to ‘show them the way’.

Well, I needn’t have worried!  The centre hive was the first one we opened, and I was immensely relieved to see loads of bees in the top of it, hungrily feasting on the solution.  This photo up to the left here is just some of them.  Don’t worry -they’re not trapped in there!  There’s a large-bore hole right in the centre of this which leads down into the super below it.

And on looking into the super, I was very pleased to see that this hive I had been ‘fretting over’ is actually the one with the frames of foundation that I made in it!A super full of bees and foundation.

Here’s the photo to prove it.  Spooky, eh?

We also noticed that the workers are starting to build up this foundation in the supers, meaning that with a little warmer, sunnier weather, we could be in for some honey.

Let’s hope so.  I, for one, can’t wait to see how it tastes!

After inspecting the super, we moved onto the lower brood box.

To get to this, you have to prise off the queen excluder, and after Charles reminded me how to do this, I took my hive tool to each of the four corners then lifted and gently twisted to get it off.Prising off the queen excluder.

Whilst doing this, I was amazed at how quickly the bees had built up comb after the pouring of the feed down through the super.

The top of the queen excluder had quite a lot of new comb build-up.Brand new comb being built.

As we were changing the queen excluders anyway for our own, Charles ‘donated’ this lump of new comb.  Maybe I’ll make a very small candle from it!

Underneath the excluder is where all the action takes place.  This is the brood box where new eggs are laid, brood nurtured and then new workers finally emerge.

At the risk of collective groans, yesterday, despite the weather being so dull and cold, the brood boxes were hives of activity.  Sorry.

The brood box.This is the centre hive as we opened it, and Charles immediately remarked on just how many bees there were.

Because of this, he decided that we should re-arrange the hives slightly to accommodate all these bees.  This will hopefully prevent them from wanting to swarm.  When they run out of room -which these clearly had!- their instinct is to hatch a new queen and naturally split the hive in two.

Thankfully, we found no active queen cells -which would have been another sign- so we put the new brood boxes full of foundation on top on the old ones, then put the queen excluder on top of that before replacing the supers.  This will give the colonies ‘something to do’ while the weather continues to be awful.

We also topped up all three feeders -the left hand most one was completely empty!New brood box on top of the old one.

To the right here is as we placed the new brood box on top of the old, before we fitted the new queen excluder then the super on top.

When putting the new brood box on, its very important to make sure that its the right way round!  You don’t want one with the frames running left to right with the other with the frames running front to back.  Also to note is that you must make sure that all your boxes are exactly on top of each other.

Done!So, in all the excitement yesterday, on all three hives we moved the new brood boxes down to be directly above the old ones -each full of new foundation.  We also made a quick inspection of the brood frames themselves to see that everything was okay and we also topped up all the feeders.

Even though I’m sure it only took a matter of minutes, after it all, I was totally exhausted.

But very happy!

Saturday, I plan to just open the tops up and check the feeder levels.  Charles has left us some syrup in case they’re running low.

Now we just need some sunshine!

 


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