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Old Speckled Hen

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  1. Not good practice if your bees are coping on their own. It's a good idea to to monitor in the Spring and after the supers come off. I tend to just before and after supering. An alcohol wash is the most accurate though kills the sampled bees so some people use the nearly as good sugar roll. If you don't know about these have a read of Randy Oliver's website here http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sick-bees-part-11-mite-monitoring-methods/ http://www.bee-equipment.co.uk do a sugar roll kit for simplicity. Inspection tray monitoring is a waste of time as it is inaccurate The most common method is using some sort of thymol preparation, Apiguar, Apilife Var, Thymovar, though this is temperature dependent for the whole treatment time of four weeks so you might be too late for it to be effective. Similarly with MAQS which is very hard on the bees and that queen you don't want to lose and has to be applied with supers on anyway. You best get some Apivar strips. These are prescription only and you can get them from http://www.bee.vet.co.uk I sublimate with oxalic acid three times at five day intervals after supers are off which is quick, easy and you don't have to go into the bees to do it; something you might like to look at for next season Hope this helps
  2. Do you need to treat? What is the varroa load?
  3. Hello and welcome to the fascination of keeping bees. I hope omelet don't mind me telling you but this forum is quite dead as far as bees go. Take a deep breath and go to beekeeping forum.co.uk. There are plenty of people there who keep long deep hives of varying descriptions. Their antipathy to the Beehaus has largely been redirected to the Flowhive so any advice you seek will get pretty quick attention. Good luck
  4. Put the inspection tray in. Rusty super wires? Take the frame apart carefully and pull the wire out or use new foundation
  5. If you are going foundation-less the bees need some sort of guide so that you don't get comb all over the place. Put starter strips in the top of half the frames and foundation in the other half. Alternate them so that the bees will draw the comb straight. Next year you can work out the foundation based frames.Make sure the hive is dead level. Don't waste money on expensive swarm lures. Lemongrass oil dotted at the entrance and on the top bars is just as effective. Bees looking for a new home like a dark box with a small entrance so you need to close off the floor and close down the entrance. I have bait boxes knocked up just to catch swarms. They can be fairly rudimentary as the bees are transferred toute suite. If you have a blow torch then you can quickly whizz round the inside as bees like scorched wood too. Scout bees will explore the box for space so don't fill it with frames. If you can beg or borrow a used old brood frame that is the best lure in the world. Put an empty frame by the wall furthest from the entrance, then the used frame. Put your bait box at least six feet up. Mine are on flat roofs. Good luck
  6. My tomatoes are through. After faffing around with all sorts of varieties I'm sticking with Sungold in the greenhouse. Aubergines and chillies popped up this morning. The sweet peas I sowed three weeks ago are sitting happily in the cold greenhouse. My purple sprouting broccoli is just starting. It takes up a whole raised bed but I do love the sprouts. Blueberries have been mulched with home made ericaceous compost and I picked the last of the parsnips yesterday.
  7. What are we all doing with our bees? Do we have plans for more colonies, more apiaries or just a couple of boxes at the bottom of the garden. Is anybody considering a Flow Hive? Me.....I struggle keeping a lid on the numbers as I put bait hives out and always catch swarms; nice to give bees away though
  8. Bumblebees love Pulmonaria Bee forage depends on where you live. The first early forage would probably be Willow and Gorse then Sycamore closely followed by Dandelions. I was always taught that when the dandelions are in flower is when you should look out for your hives starting to swarm. If you have Oil Seed Rape planted near you the bees love that and the beekeeper will get a crop off it. My honey comes from Bramble/Rosebay Willow Herb and Clover with maybe latterly some Himalayan Balsam. The bees finish their stores up for winter with Ivy nectar. Add fruit trees and garden flowers to this mix. If you want to plant for bees concentrate on simple (i.e. not double triple petal things) flowers that bloom when there is little else which is early Spring and Late Autumn. So something like crocus/snowdrop/Lenten Hellebores/Cherry and at the other end of the year herbs left to flower (Oregano, Marjoram and Mint are great favourites), Sedums and Asters. I've probably left lots out but that's a start. Oh and poppies.....bumblebees love them.
  9. Old Speckled Hen

    Windy

    How's everybody coping with the windy and up to just recently warm weather. My wooden colony is chomping through the stores and has fondant on this morning. Lots of spring flowers, tree and blossom, is going to be missed by the bees if we get a cold snap in March. 2014 is a long distant memory ......sigh. Right the thread on uniting got 10321 hits but only 2 replies.....here's hoping for a little more life
  10. My hens' walk-in run is recopied every month. The wood chips are emptied into the big garden compost pile. I leave this for a year, then bagged for a year and the compost is lovely, mulch, plant,sieve for seeds. Wonderful
  11. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Beehive-Omlet-beehaus/272118404944?_trksid=p2141725.c100338.m3726&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20150313114020%26meid%3D9dd0066b90f94d908c9087cdcbf48001%26pid%3D100338%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D21%26sd%3D272119001337
  12. I've been thinking about this........ When they make swarm preps this year perhaps you could use every swarm cell and offer them to your local BKA (I know you say you don't go any more but you could contact the apiary manager via email;, surely? ) Most beekeepers would jump at the chance to get their hands on a queen that might be carrying her mother's varroa tolerance....I know I would! Where do you live?
  13. The trouble with some fora representing a passionate hobby is that they do host a few people who largely have little life apart from the cyber and say things they wouldn’t dare say to one’s face. That said it helps to be on the right forum. There is little point in discussing the Beehaus on a “traditional” hive forum. A lot of folk are dismissive of what they consider to be an expensive toy. They are wrong, of course but that’s life. The Beehaus forum is HERE but it is stone dead. Why isn’t there a lively discussion here? There are plenty of experienced beekeepers to lend a hand and support such a discussion. Just look at the Flow Forum! Here is a system derided almost hysterically and yet the forum flourishes with like minded prospective beekeepers who are getting the help it is blindingly obvious they need from “seasoned oldies” So come on omleteers….let’s get this forum going. I don’t have a Beehaus but I do have experience with long deep hives. I’d like to know how people are doing with them. The abstract fro your journal of Biometeorology is by Derek Mitchell. He posts all his findings on the beekeeping forum and is happy to help anybody via PM. He is doing the rounds of BKAs with his entertaining talk. A lot of us, as a result have super insulated our wooden hives. I'm interested in varroa tolerant bees, who isn't, you are so lucky you have bees that seem to be heading that way. Why don't you share how you have achieved this? Let's hope your colony makes swarm/supersedure preps this year.
  14. Luvachicken, Most mites you see on a bumblebee are harmless. The only time they might pose a threat is if there are so many clinging on the bee can't fly. In this case you can brush them off with a pointed artist brush or cotton bud. Normally they feed on nest detritus and are just hitching a ride. At this time of year the bee you saw would be an overwintering queen tempted out in the warm sunshine. There is no nest, she has been hibernating in a crack in a wall or some such. So, next time do nothing unless your bee is chilled when you can offer it some moistened sugar (NOT HONEY)
  15. Could you put the inspection board in after each shake and let us know what varroa drops you are getting? It would help because there may be another reason you are disease free. It's largely accepted that shaking sugar over bees doesn't work in removing varroa unless you shake so much (like when you do a sugar roll in a jar) What is interesting is that a DWV variant (B) has been discovered which is non pathogenic and in some situations it is displacing the malignant type A which largely causes colonies to succumb to varroa collapse. It is thought that some colonies are beginning to cope with varroa in this way. Exciting stuff Natural comb is key as well. This year I'm putting all my new stock from splits into foundation free frames.
  16. I have just spent happy hour watching my bees coming and going Same here.....it's been a peculiar winter. I'm surprised people are still criticising the Beehaus.It is after all just a box to put your bees in. I thought they had moved on to the Flow Hive. Beginners losing bees in wooden boxes is not down to the box, surely but to lack of experience and bad beekeeping(mostly)?
  17. Thanks SJP OK with hens. I use Nemaslug from these guys http://www.greengardener.co.uk/GGsearch.asp There may be cheaper sources.
  18. sjp I am very fond of spuds and have over the years tried lots of varieties (that how I stumbled on Salad Blue) Our spuds grow in clay here and get attacked by some sort of soft rot....not blight.....so I have given up multi varieties and just try to grow two in the veggie beds and lift them as quickly as I can...... and the rest in bags. We had horrid problems for two years with slugs so now everything gets watered four times a year with nematodes........it works!! You obviously know what you are talking about........any tips re potatoes? PS I have 5 tubers of Sarpo going in this year.....a new one to try.
  19. Salad Blue make the best mashed potatoes ever.............blue though but the taste is wonderful. I always grow Pink Fir Apple which are so prolific we are still eating them into April and King Edwards always do well. They go in the ground and Charlotte and Lady Christl in bags in the garden for small early potatoes
  20. That sound pretty good, Lewis. Much better than the conditions some captive raptors...particularly those on exhibition...have to endure. Sounds like you had a very memorable day. Our Kites here are doing well. The pair in our garden raised two chicks this year and we have another pair in the apiary who raised just the one.
  21. Is that all the flying they get? Where do they live the rest of the time?
  22. Well done. Then do something wonderful with the degree. Specialise in something innovative I wish I had.
  23. Why did you leave it so long to amalgamate the frames? I would have been in two days later. First remove the queen cell. Arrange the frames with brood and stores and queen together then move the empty brood frames away so that you leave your colony with a manageable space. Feed a little if needed. You could makes nuc with the queen cell but it seems you haven't enough bees.

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