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Hachi 

Queen Bee
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Damn! A lot more than I ever thought I'd have
I started the season with 20 hives and nucs and had made a range of plans. Fast forward 2.5 months into the season, I am left with 14 hives in all sizes, including a pitiful 4 production hives, 4 hives with newly mated queens (following re-queening and AS) which are now throwing several Qcs with queen present in 2 and vanished in the other 2, and the rest is a mixed bag of smaller hives that will bring nothing in terms of honey. I also have 2x 3 frames nuc with virgin waiting to mate and a round of 8 Qcs following a small grafting session on Sunday.

I do feel deflated considering the amount of work and investment that has been required to get to the 20 hives I wanted for the start of the season and where I end-up by mid-June! Anyone else gets that amount of ups and downs in a single season or Am I doing something wrong?
Welcome to my world!
 

Swn58 

Field Bee
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Less than 1.....more than 20!
I started with great plans for this year too. The idea was to at least double the amount of full colonies I had. FAIL!
The weird cold snap in early May put pay to that. I actually witnessed queen cells being taken down by the bees. Very few of my split nucs kept their QC's. In fact, my colonies never even looked like they were ever threatening to swarm this year!
As I posted earlier, my Nicot experience failed as well. It was as if my bees were far too Conservative to assist in trying something new! I won't give up on that yet though.
Even before this season started I lost two colonies to wasps down at the farm last autumn. In all the time I've kept bees, I've never had that happen before. One queen then died around March on that site, so I lost another colony before I could do anything about it! Two of my 'doner' queens also died on my allotment apiary a few weeks ago. One was pretty old though. They were heading up my expansion plans presiding over huge colonies. I managed to re-queen them, so hope that all will get back to normal pretty soon
Never mind.....musn't grumble! On the plus front. I rehoused two successful nucs into Abelo hives at the farm and there are two more nucs coming along there. They also will be rehoused soon. The other colonies there are primed for the expected lime crop.
My allotment apiary now has four 'working' hives and two rapidly growing colonies that may well get supers in the next few weeks. I was about to amalgamate a 'queen-less' nuc yesterday, along with four others and actually discovered a small queen running around! She's unmated I think, so will wait to see what happens.
I have moved two nucs to my new Apiary at Sandwell and will move two colonies from my partners allotments up there in late autumn. I have great plans for that site as well. I must tell the bees this time! :icon_204-2:
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

International Beekeeper of Mystery
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Too many - but not nearly enough
I would have expected to be more prepared with my career being in emergency planning....
But you should know, that just like the Spanish Inquisition.........................................
 

jeff33 

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But you should know, that just like the Spanish Inquisition.........................................
you should expect surprise and ruthless efficiency...or in my case inefficiency?🤣

Just to add insult to injury, my queen right cell raiser which is also a production colony is throwing a couple swarm cells just at the start of the flow. I have 2-3 days to decide on the best course of action, nuc the queen or transfer the cell bar to another queen right colony so I can do a vertical split with snelgrove board to keep that colony strong without a brood break.
 

Hux70 

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I feel a lot better now, I thought it was just my season had gone a bit pear shaped. Only in my 3rd year so this year I made sure I was ready.
Nothing has gone to plan!..........I have learnt loads though.
 

Swarm 

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Hi Jeff
Your season pretty much mirrors my own. My early splits have drone layers, NUCs keep throwing cast swarms. Of my 20 hives I would say only 7 are doing well and 5 will produce a honey crop.
Also got 12 grafts as sealed queen cells. I am going to seek bees to make up mating NUCs today.
The wet weather in May messed everything up and now they think it is Autumn.
Somebody needs to remind the "2 hive owners" who run the BBKA of the importance of imported queens in a year like this!!!!
This year has been very challenging for the bees and beekeepers, however I've not needed imported queens. Early mating nucs are now in hives averaging 8 frames of brood. Second batch have BIAS (sealed worker) so had extra frames added today. Our last batch of mating nucs are due for checking next week.
Despite the challenges posed, the queens have been produced and the production colonies are sound, all we need is a flow. Most hives had four full supers on this time in 2018.
 

elainemary 

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Think it's good to set yourself goals (rather than make definitive plans), otherwise how will you know if you've arrived at your destination, or not? Then be flexible with your plans along the way, because the bees will have other ideas.

I keep a log during the season with short sentences on what I've learnt. I write something down most weeks. Big things I've learnt, huge doinks, little things, stupid mistakes that I'd rather not repeat.

I feel it's really important to log what went right and wrong and why you think it happened; draw conclusions. Do it every week, or you'll get distracted with the next list of things to do. Then at the end of the season and during the winter, you can sit back reflect and set yourself goals for the next season. I often look back to previous years notes too, as it's easy to forget lessons previously learnt, we're human after all!

Don't beat yourself up. What's gone right, what are you pleased about, what can you build on next year. Share your learning with others - the basis of this forum :)
 

madasafish 

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This year has been very challenging for the bees and beekeepers, however I've not needed imported queens. Early mating nucs are now in hives averaging 8 frames of brood. Second batch have BIAS (sealed worker) so had extra frames added today. Our last batch of mating nucs are due for checking next week.
Despite the challenges posed, the queens have been produced and the production colonies are sound, all we need is a flow. Most hives had four full supers on this time in 2018.

Ditto here: very challenging.
As May day time temperatures were at best 13=15C.. and night time between 4 to 6C bees did hardly any foraging, queens stopped laying as there was zero nectar input and Queen rearing proved to be impossible. And now we have a June drought and Qs have stopped laying again..
Early formed nucs have stopped growing, hives have started eating their stores and all expansion has ground to a halt. What Qs I have reared in early June have now mated - the good news - and are laying.

It has been a struggle .

I would just love to see how the ivory towered beekeepers are getting on..👀

As for flows, brambles are just opening, lime is coming out but it is cold at night 8 to 11C and under 18C during the day so the prospect of a lime harvest look remote.

Oh well as the well known saying goes: #### happens..
 

jeff33 

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This is the beauty of this forum, it helps put into perspective the vagaries of beekeeping and challenges faced by all. Although I hate wishing bad luck to others, it is good in a sense that many are facing the same challenging year. Yes I am not where I expected to be but getting a lot more confident with my basic understanding of beekeeping principles thanks to the great advice of many on here. I will probably focus the rest of the season on raising a few descent queens and nucs ready for overwintering as there is always next year!!
 

Nige.Coll 

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My year started well then went downhill. All overwintered nucs had to be put into hives early season and very few losses.
Then it went to sh**.
Track to an apiary washed away so 15 colonies impossible to get to. 1 starved.
Queen rearing has been delayed by at least a month so I am behind where I wanted to be.
May was rain and rain so no honey in the supers and boxes of fondant in the van, now extracting until silly hours of the night and looking like getting around 1.5 ton from about 80 colonies. Already a ton in the tank and another 50+ supers to extract before I'm finished. Each hive has been left with 1/2 to 1 full super of honey to cover any gap.
Most of the hives that lost queens now have laying queens in place had 1 DLQ in a nuc. Mongrels will be replaced as the year progresses.
Queen rearing is back on track with another batch of grafts done today.

The year started crap but has improved significantly.
Feeding the colonies and keeping them going through may has helped with the amount of bees in the boxes to forage.

All in all, it could have been so much worse.
 

colinlyne 

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I started the season with 20 hives and nucs and had made a range of plans. Fast forward 2.5 months into the season, I am left with 14 hives in all sizes, including a pitiful 4 production hives, 4 hives with newly mated queens (following re-queening and AS) which are now throwing several Qcs with queen present in 2 and vanished in the other 2, and the rest is a mixed bag of smaller hives that will bring nothing in terms of honey. I also have 2x 3 frames nuc with virgin waiting to mate and a round of 8 Qcs following a small grafting session on Sunday.

I do feel deflated considering the amount of work and investment that has been required to get to the 20 hives I wanted for the start of the season and where I end-up by mid-June! Anyone else gets that amount of ups and downs in a single season or Am I doing something wrong?
Why do you keep bees?
 

jeff33 

Drone Bee
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Why do you keep bees?
Let me see, reduce nagging time, I have too much spare time in my hands, I like to lose 1 stone a week through sweating profusely under my suit, I love the whole concept of beekeeping.....and it was cheaper than starting to keep cattle!😂
 

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