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Lislarybees 

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Like the sound of that. Guess her boxes can be made to fit national frames. Will give it a go. Did you put traps near the existing hives?
I just run a bar across so that national frames hang leaving a bit of extra space in the box in terms of width. The more unoccupied space in the box the better I find. As long as you don't leave a swarm in there too long your shouldn't experience comb being built where you don't want it. I generally just put in one frame of old brood comb then frames with starter strips to fill out the box. You can get away with putting in just three frames if you really want but I don't always get to pick up the swarm that quickly and a new swarm draws a lot of comb very fast.

Two of the three locations I set swarm traps last year had bee keepers near by. It wasn't deliberate - I thought it would be fun for a friend to try and catch a swarm of bees to get them started. We set up a trap in his garden and a week later a swarm moved in. Turns out there is a beekeeper about a kilometre away.

The other location is at a friends house that has had a bee colony living in the eaves of their house for about twenty years. It is these bees I was trying to catch. There is a bee keeper about a kilometre from this location and some of these swarms may have come from their apiary as they were buckfast or a buckfast type. However this is also a heavily wooded area and there may be more free living bees around. I caught seven swarms at this location.

The third location was at my Mums house and as far as we know there are no bee keepers that close but a swarm can travel quite far so it doesn't tell us too much. There is some old oak woodland nearby so the swarms may have come from free living bees.

Following the directions from the horizontal hives website was so successful it made me think maybe I should take a closer look at horizontal hives. I started playing around with one last year but hope to catch swarms directly on Layens frames this year to put straight into a Layens hive.
 

Swarm 

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Love your set up!
I finished the work at the apiary today and all I have left to do is move them, a bit too busy for that today :)
The purple nuc is the daughter raised from a nice line of queens at my friend's apiary, mated at the farm. There is another nuc with a related queen, mated here which is due to go to his apiary in Spring.
The second nuc is the daughter of a 2019 Amm, I also have her sister in another nuc where I was standing. Hopefully they turn out as good as their mother.
The green nuc is one of our farm queens. She built up really fast and I was able to use some of her brood frames for other mating nucs and they produced a box of honey (fresh comb for this year)
 

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Well I finished the rounds after(?) the storms and all are safe. At the farm yesterday and the wind was still howling, despite this there were plenty on the wing and pollen returning. The 'nucs' had a lot of activity around them with a cloud of orientating bees by the time I was leaving.
Took a photo of the location of the old coal mine for a then and now comparison with an old picture from 1906.
 

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Lislarybees 

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Well I finished the rounds after(?) the storms and all are safe. At the farm yesterday and the wind was still howling, despite this there were plenty on the wing and pollen returning. The 'nucs' had a lot of activity around them with a cloud of orientating bees by the time I was leaving.
Took a photo of the location of the old coal mine for a then and now comparison with an old picture from 1906.
Glad everything survived the storm. My hives all held up but a couple of my chicken houses were not so lucky despite being weighed down with truck straps and concrete blocks. Spent yesterday afternoon piecing one back together.
 

Lislarybees 

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Hmm tried posting a video of two colonies flying but the video didn't show - only the sound. Will have to work on my tech skills
 
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Swarm 

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I found it easier to use drop box.
Landlord showed me some photos he took of our friend's apiary a few miles away, a tree came down and took out some nucs and a hive that was empty, thankfully. The nucs were salvaged and moved but the hive was destroyed, he was there for hours with a chain saw.
Judging by the activity yesterday and the temperature, I think we are going to find some quite advanced brood nests come inspection time.
 

Lislarybees 

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A friend had a Warre hive blow over - reassembled fairly quickly but no guarantee the bees will make it.
Still struggling with video so here’s a couple of photos from last year that I really liked. One of my bees on Mallow
 

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Now that 'in flight' one is stunning with the pollen on her head and feet. I grew some sort of Mallow a couple of years ago and noticed how covered the bees get.
 

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After doing the rounds over the last couple of days, 30+ hives and nucs and just the one that looks lost. The queens we raised last year are doing really well and stuffed with bees, flying well with plenty of stores.
Three separate lines used and all very nice bees. We set some aside last year to sell this Spring, I was considering just moving them to another site but you can't keep them all so will stick with the original plan.
As usual our yellow line are all looking very strong they will all need space next inspection.
Checking the rest next week but they are all busy so hoping to find a similar story.
 

Lislarybees 

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After doing the rounds over the last couple of days, 30+ hives and nucs and just the one that looks lost. The queens we raised last year are doing really well and stuffed with bees, flying well with plenty of stores.
Three separate lines used and all very nice bees. We set some aside last year to sell this Spring, I was considering just moving them to another site but you can't keep them all so will stick with the original plan.
As usual our yellow line are all looking very strong they will all need space next inspection.
Checking the rest next week but they are all busy so hoping to find a similar story.
That is a very positive start to the season! I took advantage of the weather to take a peak at 4 four of my hives. All with good levels of brood, stores and lots of pollen. My strongest colony already had a section of drone brood. Looks like this good weather will continue for another few days thankfully.
 

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Just looked at my six hives of black bees (some local, some derived from Jon Geddes stock) and found a large amount of ivy honey which they had packed in last year. It was so good last year that most didn't get any supplementary sugar feed. They still had five or six frames full, so no danger of running out of food in the future, so they have all had a couple of frames removed and empty frames dropped in beside the brood nest. Still way too much, but I assume swapping out will have to be paced over the next few weeks. What is everyone else doing about surplus brood nest stores
 

Curly green finger's 

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I've tried John's twice, of the first two one was killed and the other superseded pretty quickly
The next two were so chalky I gave up on them.
I have two of Ceri's overwintering in nucs and they look great. I looked through on Friday and they behaved as if I wasn't there, good and strong too.
I have two of Murray's on order as well but of course they don't belong in this section so I'll say no more.
I've had 4 of Jon's 1 superseded 1 is very chalky and the other two are wintering well, first inspection one has 6 frames of solid brood the other a little more, these two have been frugal and have had 4litres of 2:1 in the autumn along side the ivy.
Chalky queen has 3/4 frames of brood and will be requeened ASAP with one of my wintering mini nuc queen's.
All jgs quuens were introduced in July 21
 

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I have a 2020 JG queen and whilst there is chalk so far it has only been mild and transitory. Have not yet been inside that hive this year yet but a peak through perspex crown a few days ago showed a live and kicking busy hive.
 

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Just looked at my six hives of black bees (some local, some derived from Jon Geddes stock) and found a large amount of ivy honey which they had packed in last year. It was so good last year that most didn't get any supplementary sugar feed. They still had five or six frames full, so no danger of running out of food in the future, so they have all had a couple of frames removed and empty frames dropped in beside the brood nest. Still way too much, but I assume swapping out will have to be paced over the next few weeks. What is everyone else doing about surplus brood nest stores
It sounds like you have a nice site, I'm in a similar position with an abundance of Ivy. There are some small patches of Balsam around that they benefit from as well but I do like to make sure they all have some thymolised invert.
My friend doesn't feed his.
We don't tend to find the combs too clogged with stores by first inspection but any excess go for nucs.
 

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That is a very positive start to the season! I took advantage of the weather to take a peak at 4 four of my hives. All with good levels of brood, stores and lots of pollen. My strongest colony already had a section of drone brood. Looks like this good weather will continue for another few days thankfully.
Thanks, it was all going well, I have everything organised and ready and now a fresh bunch of problems to deal with. I'm hoping it's not going to mean playing catch up later on.
It's shaping up a bit like a repeat of last year with a sunny end of March followed by low temps in April. We had charged cells in one colony on April 27th. How many brood combs do yours have? I've a few that over wintered in single boxes, they could do with some extra space if I'm honest and the double nucs definitely need space. One hive still has a nadir, the brood box began to fall apart when it went under so it was gaffer taped safe with the plan for a shift to a new hive and remove the nadir this Spring. One of our yellow line queens, they build quite fast so had hoped to sort the mess when they were smaller, just have to be extra careful I suppose.
 

Beesnaturally 

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Sensible questions.
Like in other animals and plants hybrid vigour can give good results for a generation or two, but in honey bees with multiple mating the end result is a hybridised mess of erratic and often poor quality bees, so I think it is the wrong path to go down.
This comes from a long way back, and so apologies if it has been discussed before.

High levels of genetic variation do, as you say, tend to create a wider range of characteristics. And yes, beekeepers tend not to want that.

However, in theory at least, within that mix are all sorts of tools that might, if allowed to come to the surface, as it were, play out to create a more even strain that is well suited to a given local environment, and which may outperform all others for both stability and cropping.

I'm not sure how much a small beekeeper will want to think about this, or how much influence they might have. But in any context where a local feral population is, or might, or could, be a venue for natural selection to play out in this way, it might be something worth considering?
 

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