Holiday Advice Please - this message ended up being a lot longer than I planned!

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Floyd

House Bee
Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
186
Reaction score
4
Location
Moved back to Fife
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
2 National
Ladies and Gents,

Since joining in 2009 I have not felt the need to post a question as I have found that they are either posted when I need the advice or are accessable via the search feature.

I must thank you all for the font of knowledge you have become, and now find myself logging on with my morning cuppa and a couple of times during the day! (my wife thinks I am really sad)

So here we go.

Firstly I am due to go away for 16 days next week. Currently my situation is.

This is my Third year and I currently have 2 national hives ( marked Queens). One Smith (Swarm for last year unmarked) and a newly laying Nuc Marked Queen on Smith frames).

I live in the Northwest Highlands in a very remote location, the nearest beekeeper is 18 miles away and would still incur a 2 mile sea crossing on the loch. As such I can not afford for my bees to swarm whilst away as there will be no one to deal with the situation and I simply dont want them taking up a new home in someones porch or even worse the School!

Despite all your bad weather down South, it has been averaging about 18 degrees here for the last 3 weeks; however at times rather windy. I have religously been checking my hives on a 4 day basis and today found a missed capped queen cell with no sign of previous swarming in typically the unmarked queen in the Smith hive.

So I entered into what has been my most major manipulation to date. Following the advice on here regarding finding the queen, I did the following.

Moved original hive 10 feet away and placed a floor, super and roof to collect the fliers. Split original hive into 2 and spread the frames singualary apart so that the queen could not shift between frames. I then left for an hour for all to calm down.

Checked original moved hive (hive 1) with queen cell and was still unable to find the Queen, Checked the second hive still unable to find queen but no queen cells. Reset roof and let things calm down.

Rechecked hive 1 however each frame that did not have the Queen cell on was shook in front of the Capture super to check for further queen cells. Both hives still showed no queen so moved the frames from the split into one BB in hive one. Lifted off the empty Brood box from the second part of the split and the queen, typically had been sitting on the floor! Took her away and did my first wing clipping and marked her (only had blue but dont think that that should be a problem being as I am on my own).

I now have 2 smith hives with the queen in one and the QC in the other. I would rather not be on Smith as I dont like the small lugs and have two spare National hives. However the Nuc is currently on Smith frames and has a newly laying queen (2 weeks).

So here are my questions.

1. Should I be feeding the Smith hive which I left the queen in. She has 4 empty drawn out frames 2 of brood and 1 of stores rest are on new foundation

2. The smith hive with the QC has 3 frames of brood and 1 of stores do I feed. Can I remove the QC and merge with the queen from the Nuc and the 2 frames of brood, if so how?

3. If the hive with the now clipped queen did decide to swarm I assume that she would fall to the floor and eventually die as I am not around to save her. Should I place a QE under the BB before I leave? (judging by earlier posts this does not sound like the prefered solution)

4. Can anyone suggest the best way to change from Smith to National. Had considered using nails to extend the lug lendth.

I am quite happy with the nationals, however they are very slow at building up foundation. I lost all the drawn out frames from last year as I have now found out that black bin bags are great at stopping Wax Moth but rubbish at keeping mice out (forgot to put boards top and bottom!).

Now this may be a crazy idea for drawing out super frames, but I did consider to do an artifial swarm so that all flying bees went to a super with new foundation. This would then be feed heavy with 1:1 syrup to promote comb building . Any ideas or am I thinking right out of the box.

I dont want to increase my hive count for one reason is that I think there is a limited source of food as there is no agriculture in my area, so most nectar/ pollen sources are from tree pollen, which is coming to its end, raspberry or wild flower (not sure if bees like Orchids which we have an abundance of when flowering.) However would like a Honey crop this year to justify the investment to my ever supportive other half.

There is no Balsam, ivy, osr and the heather that comes in really needs to be muirburnt as it flowers at the same time and was very weak last year.

I think that covers all my questions so far. Sorry for the length of the post but I do think that the correct use of paragraphs makes for are far easier read.

Still Varroa free and I may be tempting fate but sting free also. I take my time and use very little smoke.

I can only compare my hives with the one that was gifted to me in my first year. During inspection it was like being hit with machine gun fire and when finished the bees would be covering most of the bottom half of the suit, However these are probably a natural black bee as they are all sourced from a wild hive located in a farm building not more that 500 meters away. I recommended requeen in my first year with a greek/buckfast cross, which I did

I dont think my hives hit the same level as you lot down South. Also I am dressed like a medival Knight with my leather gloves, but am considering the marigold option as I find the small lugs on the Smith hive hard to handle.

Did find the tip of smoking the gloves prior to manipulation very helpful.

Once again thank you all so much for making me feel confident to approach my bees in a confident fashion. I get so much enjoyment from them and when working the hives, it is probably the closest I get to a Zen moment that is possible.



Looking forward to having my questions highlighted in Bold ;)

If anyone would like a pack of deep commercial foundation i have a pack which was ordered in error. Will post for free.

Wishing you all and your bees good health.

Lee
 
a friend has a few smith frames still knocking about in his setup. he is on all national so i assume they fit inside the national box. easy to spot them with the short lugs. this might allow you to swap to national with not reall problems
 
.....
4. Can anyone suggest the best way to change from Smith to National. Had considered using nails to extend the lug lendth.

.....

I can answer that one for you; I'm in the middle of the same process. Just use the smiths frames in your nationals, they fit apart from the length of the lugs. All you need to do is ensure that they sit centrally otherwise the spacers can slip past each other and you will loose bee-space between the frames and crush bees. mix and match them with nationals and gradually work them to the outside of the brood nest, when they are empty either replace with new national frames or more economically replace the top bar and re-wax (it can be done). Don't forget current DEFRA advice is to replace brood frames on a three year cycle anyway.
 
Ladies and Gents,

Since joining in 2009 I have not felt the need to post a question as I have found that they are either posted when I need the advice or are accessable via the search feature.

I must thank you all for the font of knowledge you have become, and now find myself logging on with my morning cuppa and a couple of times during the day! (my wife thinks I am really sad)

So here we go.

Firstly I am due to go away for 16 days next week. Currently my situation is.

This is my Third year and I currently have 2 national hives ( marked Queens). One Smith (Swarm for last year unmarked) and a newly laying Nuc Marked Queen on Smith frames).

I live in the Northwest Highlands in a very remote location, the nearest beekeeper is 18 miles away and would still incur a 2 mile sea crossing on the loch. As such I can not afford for my bees to swarm whilst away as there will be no one to deal with the situation and I simply dont want them taking up a new home in someones porch or even worse the School!

Despite all your bad weather down South, it has been averaging about 18 degrees here for the last 3 weeks; however at times rather windy. I have religously been checking my hives on a 4 day basis and today found a missed capped queen cell with no sign of previous swarming in typically the unmarked queen in the Smith hive.

So I entered into what has been my most major manipulation to date. Following the advice on here regarding finding the queen, I did the following.

Moved original hive 10 feet away and placed a floor, super and roof to collect the fliers. Split original hive into 2 and spread the frames singualary apart so that the queen could not shift between frames. I then left for an hour for all to calm down.

Checked original moved hive (hive 1) with queen cell and was still unable to find the Queen, Checked the second hive still unable to find queen but no queen cells. Reset roof and let things calm down.

Rechecked hive 1 however each frame that did not have the Queen cell on was shook in front of the Capture super to check for further queen cells. Both hives still showed no queen so moved the frames from the split into one BB in hive one. Lifted off the empty Brood box from the second part of the split and the queen, typically had been sitting on the floor! Took her away and did my first wing clipping and marked her (only had blue but dont think that that should be a problem being as I am on my own).

I now have 2 smith hives with the queen in one and the QC in the other. I would rather not be on Smith as I dont like the small lugs and have two spare National hives. However the Nuc is currently on Smith frames and has a newly laying queen (2 weeks).

So here are my questions.

1. Should I be feeding the Smith hive which I left the queen in. She has 4 empty drawn out frames 2 of brood and 1 of stores rest are on new foundation

Give them a couple of pints of one to one to be safe.

2. The smith hive with the QC has 3 frames of brood and 1 of stores do I feed. Can I remove the QC and merge with the queen from the Nuc and the 2 frames of brood, if so how?

Newspaper. Queen right above.

3. If the hive with the now clipped queen did decide to swarm I assume that she would fall to the floor and eventually die as I am not around to save her. Should I place a QE under the BB before I leave? (judging by earlier posts this does not sound like the prefered solution)

No. Will choke with drones.

4. Can anyone suggest the best way to change from Smith to National. Had considered using nails to extend the lug lendth.

Nails work but easier to wait now until next year and put a box of national above and let them move up, then excluder for three weeks. Simple.

I am quite happy with the nationals, however they are very slow at building up foundation. I lost all the drawn out frames from last year as I have now found out that black bin bags are great at stopping Wax Moth but rubbish at keeping mice out (forgot to put boards top and bottom!).

Now this may be a crazy idea for drawing out super frames, but I did consider to do an artifial swarm so that all flying bees went to a super with new foundation. This would then be feed heavy with 1:1 syrup to promote comb building . Any ideas or am I thinking right out of the box.

Why waste the money and potential contamination of the honey?

I dont want to increase my hive count for one reason is that I think there is a limited source of food as there is no agriculture in my area, so most nectar/ pollen sources are from tree pollen, which is coming to its end, raspberry or wild flower (not sure if bees like Orchids which we have an abundance of when flowering.) However would like a Honey crop this year to justify the investment to my ever supportive other half.

There is no Balsam, ivy, osr and the heather that comes in really needs to be muirburnt as it flowers at the same time and was very weak last year.

I think that covers all my questions so far. Sorry for the length of the post but I do think that the correct use of paragraphs makes for are far easier read.

Still Varroa free and I may be tempting fate but sting free also. I take my time and use very little smoke.

I can only compare my hives with the one that was gifted to me in my first year. During inspection it was like being hit with machine gun fire and when finished the bees would be covering most of the bottom half of the suit, However these are probably a natural black bee as they are all sourced from a wild hive located in a farm building not more that 500 meters away. I recommended requeen in my first year with a greek/buckfast cross, which I did
If you buy in queens you won't likely stay varroa free for long and have also damaged your local genetics as the bees in residence are very likely AMM.

I dont think my hives hit the same level as you lot down South. Also I am dressed like a medival Knight with my leather gloves, but am considering the marigold option as I find the small lugs on the Smith hive hard to handle.

Short lugs are actually easier to handle it just takes a bit of time to get used to them.

Did find the tip of smoking the gloves prior to manipulation very helpful.

Once again thank you all so much for making me feel confident to approach my bees in a confident fashion. I get so much enjoyment from them and when working the hives, it is probably the closest I get to a Zen moment that is possible.
 
Wow not even 10 minutes and 2 helpful replies

cheers
 
Polyhive amny thanks for your info as regard to

Now this may be a crazy idea for drawing out super frames, but I did consider to do an artifial swarm so that all flying bees went to a super with new foundation. This would then be feed heavy with 1:1 syrup to promote comb building . Any ideas or am I thinking right out of the box.

Why waste the money and potential contamination of the honey?


I had considerd the super being the only constituant of the hive so would not have any honey it, The hive would be based on floor super, crown board and roof.

Did think I was maybe trying to reinvent the wheel though

Cheers
 
To add to my earlier post on smiths frames, if you find that you cannot move on your old smiths hives without giving them away, you can always convert the brood boxes and supers to national dimensions.

All you need do is frame out the outside of both sides with 7/8 timber and then cut out the top rail (ideally with a router) to take the full length top bars. They won't be pretty but it will give you spare broods and supers for A/S's etc.

With a bit of work you can also the utilise QX's and floors too.
 
I have had another consideration. If I put castellated spacers in the new National Brood Boxes this would stop any of the sideways movement of the Smith frames, and then as Polyhive recommended convert to full frames next season.

Like the idea of just changing the top bar as my bees are notoriously slow at drawing out Foundation. Does anyone have a system to accelerate the drawing out process.

Many thanks to you all for your valued input
 
I did the manipulation today moving the queen cell into a Nuc with a frame of broad 2 drawn out frames and one of foundation. The Nuc has an open floor so I have closed up and feed 1:1. Should I leave it closed and if so how long.

The other coloney which was united with the laying queen a second BB and the newspaper method. However based on other posts here I used a QE which not only held the paper down but should confine the queen in the upper box, that way it will be easy to see if she has survived.

Hopegully I did ok but any siggestions greatly received.
 

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