19 August 2017

Three top bar Hives doing well

Population seems high and undiminished and sugar syrup is being fed at a rate of about 700ml per day per colony. The feed jars are being emptied in 24 hours so they could probably consume at an even higher rate. Wasps are showing up in growing numbers. I was stung on the hand while walking away, having only just removed my marigold gloves. The empty hive washed down and sterilized with hydrogen peroxide at 2%. This short video taken 18th August.

8 August 2017

Cathedral Top Bar Hives August activity

My threee hives seem in good heart with plenty of incoming forage being brought in by numerous bees and filling combs.
I have been feeding sugar syrup for the past week or so and all is being consumed at approximately 500ml per day per colony.
Wasps and the occasional hornet have been seen around the times of these feeding episodes but they are being repelled with plenty of vigour.


7 July 2017

Bees bivouac on North face

Not only do our Church Bees thrive on the North face of this church but also on the South face and West face of the church tower. Well out of reach from passers by and shared with the swifts that nest in the upper tower.

At 7am the bees are seen tightly clustered but as the day warms will soon be flying busily into the large colony within

Bees here outside the wall cavity are clustered about two inches deep

The tower West face has a sparate colony half way up within a cavity of the stonework

The tower South face has yet another colony set within the stonework close to the clock face

And on the East face Swifts arrived on the 5th of August to nest inside the tower

1 July 2017

TopBarHive Progress@1stJuly

Of the four hives now deployed one is empty, one is occupied by a queenless colony, one has a healthy colony building well while the fourth hive contains two colonies separated by two queen excluder followers where a communal honey store now contains two feeder jars. Hopefully this latter space (the middle third of the hive), will soon be their shared honey store.

My bait hive is now deployed near to a feral colony which is within the church stonework and hopefully I shall be able to capture another swarm that will soon be put into the empty hive.
At that point I anticipate being in a position to shake down the queenless colony so that the flying bees will return to any newly cought swarm and boost their number.

Eight frames of comb - This colony has a hive to themselves. Viewing panels on both sides and a veroa tray under the mesh floor

One comb removed and here I see  some brood

The other side has honey stores building up

The hinged top lid makes inspection very much easier

Two queen excluders form the centre section and keep the colonies at each end apart.

Sugar syrup feed jars 

Behind the queen excluder is a recent caught swarm

Combs at this end have been formed without foundation

An earlier cought swarm at the other end was given several top bars with some foundation on

Foundation seen at this end partly drawn out.  The sealing gasket neoprene is tacked on as a draught proofer.

11 June 2017

Bee shakedown Update on Update

A good number of bees are transferred safely into their new TopBar Hive and my chief concern is to establish whether or not the queen is present and undamaged. The hive was well sterilized previously by scorching the wood.
I am feeding them with sugar water (1:1) and also Ambrosia fondant which is suspended from two of the top bars present within the cluster seen below.
The bees seem to have cleared much of the honey from the discarded comb left imediately outside, so this has since been taken away.

24th June and two weeks later I find laying workers - Oh dear I should have taken action on my first suspicions of queenlessness.  I imagine the shakeown was done soon after the colony had swarmed and the unborne queen could have been lost within the discarded combs. Best advice from Phil Chandler is now to shake out the colony some way away from original hive location and introduce a new queen or brood comb to the returning flying bees. The laying bees will be left behind but would only kill a new queen.

Maturing drones and multiple eggs laid by workers   (Latest Image taken on 23rd June)

1:1 Sugar water feed jars

Bees chose this end to start on where fondant is suspended from two of the top bars

Opened hive lid is hinged

Entrance holes on this side of the hive are replicated on the opposite side

The sides have a viewing window

Discarded comb

What's going on here?

Sugar Water 

Where is the queen ?