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The season so far....

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OXFORDBEE 

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Well for me so far so good.... but how is the season going for everyone else?... Does anyone think this year is shaping up to be a good season....??
 

admin 

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I was off to a cracking start with a bumper Willow flow that filled a few supers to the brim,I think I must of been one of the first to have mated queens this year as I had Drones running around before many beekeepers had any Drone eggs.

It has slowed up though,the Hawthorn managed to flower just when we got the 10 days of rain here in south Hampshire so that was a missed opportunity.

Things have now started to even out a little with May being nothing more special than other years.
 

grizzly 

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If you look at it from an expansion point of view it has been a corker, i have nearly trebled my hive count.
Taking a few supers off next weekend for some early extraction practice, then hope my colonies build up sufficiently to at least give me some honey to pay my Apiary rents!!.
 

jon 

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It has slowed up though,the Hawthorn managed to flower just when we got the 10 days of rain here in south Hampshire so that was a missed opportunity.
Same here only it was 3 weeks of rain.

If you look at it from an expansion point of view it has been a corker, i have nearly trebled my hive count.
My colonies built up quickly and I have artificially swarmed 6 out of 8. I used some of the bees and queen cells to make up a dozen nucs with queen cells from my best 3 colonies. All have virgin queens, although I expect to see eggs in half a dozen nucs by next weekend.
This perfect mating weather has come just in time as I have had queens emerging since 9th May.
 
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jimbeekeeper 

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I had a great start straight after the winter period, coming through with zero looses.

Willow etc got them going great, but most of May has been very poor for me, with the hives only just picking back up now.

I would say last year for me was much better (so far)
 

Nellie 

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I've had a slow start with mine, live and learn. Although all three colonies on the Apiary site came through the winter.

I inherited my Hive in early April, the first thing the Existing beek did with me was to shook swarm the colony into my hive from his modified Langstroth box. On reflection this was a BIG mistake, at that point they just weren't a strong enough colony to recover from it but did give me my first "strong opinion" as a beekeeper. Namely that you wont catch me shook swarming an otherwise healthy colony as a matter of course again.

Up until last week they were coming on very slowly, only just reaching 3.5 frames of drawn comb. Fortunately the colony next door fared a lot better and by last weekend was up to 9 frames. I used this colony (with permission from its owner of course) to donate a frame of capped and emerging brood into my hive, swapping it for Foundation (we're trying to keep the bigger hive to a single brood chamber until it can be moved).

Last weekend the difference was amazing. The donor frame had mostly emerged and the bees were well on their way to drawing out the 6th frame all of it containing a nice mix of newly laid eggs and Larvae. I might get a pot or two of honey out the thing come the autumn yet.
 

Heather 

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A messy start growing from 5 hives to 18-(including 2 Nucs and 2 Apideas) -as I split hives that were determined to swarm etc -and yet to store much honey as the hives all building. As we at Brighton/Lewes are trying to help new keepers get a colony, then a good year, I suppose, but hope the honey yield will start building soon.
I only hope to keep 6 for myself - enough in a garden!!
 

Mission 

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Up until last night I was feeling most happy with my bee keeping efforts this year.

Expanding colonies, raising queens which are now mated and laying, catching swarms, helping 4 new beeks take their first steps.

Then I dropped a complete clanger!

I was moving a hive to my allotment site. The hive in question was a little stroppy anyway and in the process of combined to another bood chamber with a 2009 Queen. As I got it out of the car "something" got caught and the whole lot went over with me in tow. A full 10 frame Langstroth with no queen, bouncing upside down was NO FUN, whatsoever. Luckily I was wearing my full suit and veil etc or I would have been in serious trouble. I had pre warned my fellow allotmentees that I was moving the hive and they had all stood back. In total though 4 of them took a sting each. Although they all took it in very good cheer. I then had to pick up the hive, unstrap it, then put it all back together, re strap it and move it to it's permanant site. And then leave them to calm down. It was after dark when I finally left. I was back at 6am to combine the 2 hives, with a hope that the new queen settles them quickly. Some of the bees were still playing chase this morning, but hopefully by the end of today they will be showing signs of calming down properly and getting on with the business. In future I will be strapping across all four sides when I move a hive. I am sure others have done other equally stupid stuff, but I still feel like a total plonker today!

I was sweating so much by the end of the morning, that I came home and put the suit straight into the washing machine. I just hope it is dry before I visit them again later this evening. I am sure I must have smelt like a bear - because they were attacking me like one. One good thing though, I have total confidence in my suit now!!!

On a good note though, this weekends inspection revealed 7 of my first ever queens are laying. I just hope they remain as calm as the original queen.
 

jon 

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Mission. I have my colonies on an allotment site. Rule number one is you never want an audience. I would never open a hive if there are other plotholders around, unless it was a colony I was 100% confident about. A queenless hive is a big no no on an allotment. I moved one away for 3 weeks last year. I have also told friends who are beekeepers not to visit wearing bee suits. It only draws attention to you and someone 300 yards away will complain about your bees. I keep my colonies in a pallet enclosure to force them up and I put on my veil out of sight of others. If you think you need to wear a bee suit you have the wrong sort of bees for an allotment unless there is a special site well away from others.
You have to be really strict about temperament. I rate my colonies on a scale of 1-10, 1 being docile and ten being psychotic. unless colonies are scoring 1 or 2 all the time at inspections I mark them for requeening.
I have told other allotment holders never to enter the plot or approach if they see me wearing protective gear.
people don't understand bees and will walk up and ask you a question while you are carrying out a colony inspection. You have to be really careful as bees and people in close proximity are not a good mix.
 

Mission 

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Jon, I agree with what you have written. Of my 4 colonies on the allotment, I would give 3 of them 9.5 / 10 for gentleness. They are perfect.

The one jumpy colony which was queenless was being united to a queen right colony. All would have been well - had I not being so stupid and dropped them. With the cooler weather today I am sure they will be calm again now. If they are not then I will be moving them tonight to an isolated spot until the new queens progeny take over.
 

admin 

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Off topic alert!

Mission,how did the exams go ?
 

Mission 

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Hi Admin, the Biology exam went really really well, hopefully I did enough to get the A that I was looking for. Thanks for asking.

I have Chemistry next week and aiming for A*. I got two A*s in the first 2 papers so I am optomistic!
 

jon 

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Jon, I agree with what you have written. Of my 4 colonies on the allotment, I would give 3 of them 9.5 / 10 for gentleness. They are perfect.

Good luck. I am sure you have one or two idiots on your allotments who complain about everything.
On ours, one plotholder had a load of manure delivered to his gate. It was there for a few hours as he barrowed it in to his plot. Another plotholder rang up the council and falsely claimed that he had slipped in it and was thinking of suing, with the result that plotholers were then banned from keping a manure heap beside their plots.

Back on topic, I checked 4 nucs yesterday and found eggs in 3 so it was nice to get the green marker out for the first time. I still have 8 to start laying.
I started last year with 3 colonies and a nuc and I currently have 8 and 11 nucs so the increase is going well. That includes 1 caught swarm last June which has turned out to be my quietest colony.
I don't use any fancy queen rearing methods, just queen cells from preferred colonies.
This time last year I had already lost 2 prime swarms and a couple of casts and fingers crossed I haven't lost any yet this year.
 
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gavin 

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That looks like it could be almost a 5-fold increase in a year! You'd better keep that quiet or they might take away all the extra bee research funding that's been promised :toetap05:

G.

:nature-smiley-011:
 

jon 

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I found another queen in an apidea tonight as well which emerged from a queen cell I thought was not going to hatch.
No 5 fold increase yet as most of the virgins have still to mate and start laying.
I will probably end up combing some of the nucs if queens don't get mated properly.
 
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