What did you do in the Apiary today?

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Gilberdyke John 

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Introduced a potential new beek into contact with a couple of hives as an observer while I carried out inspections. She was unfazed by being surrounded by bees or having a few walking on the veil inches from her face plus asked sensible questions as I worked. Conditions were very favourable, warm, the sun was out, little wind, foraging going on with pollen carried by most of the returning bees. BIAS on 5 frames and nectar being stored in outer comb. She thought it was fascinating. I can forsee her having a split from one of my colonies as the spring progresses and numbers build up.
 

StephenT 

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Please don’t ask. Started the shenanigans at 10am and finished at 7.30pm.

p.s. Must increase my hive numbers to 5 although did have 6 for a short period of time today.

p.p.s. Does anyone else ever go to sleep with the sound of buzzing in their ears?
 
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madasafish 

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Am wondering if keeping varroa trays in all winter and still there now, is why they are doing so well vs this time last year? Was an experiment. Think I’ll be doing that again ....

I do that as well. Does make a difference when in a frost pocket as we are (but only half your altitude).
 

B+. 

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The weather finally seems to have stabilised enough to do proper inspections so I went around cleaning up, changing floors etc.

I like to see as little hive debris as possible on the floor at the first inspection in Spring.
This one was completely clear.

EDIT: NL-55-35-32-2020 for anyone who's interested (NL-55-3-8-2018 mated with C-VarroaToleranz line DE-7-45-363-2017 on Norderney island)
 

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Bronwen 

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Took a look in one hive on brood and a half, which has been very busy of late with lots of willow pollen going in. The half brood above, was virtually all brood, mostly capped and there was only half of one side of a frame of stores. I had been adding fondant regularly and “slapped” some more on yesterday. My feeling was they had been storing the fondant but wrong again!
I live in a vale and the frosts and cold air has held back the trees and flowers this year. The willows are thick with pollen but there’s not sufficient humidity for nectar and the annual blackthorn massacre has caused very little flowers this year.
So, still feeding in mid April......
No drone brood, no signs of swarm preparations at all, which was my fear.
How would you know if they are storing fondant! What does it look like. Serious question, I have fondant still on, but lots of pollen going in, and want to put supers on. But want to avoid them storing fondant.. thanks for any help with this one.
 

Niv 

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Inspected my hives, first two sites were fine, nothing special, one hive pretty small nest but big enough not to over panic right now.

Third site, bit nervous saying what i did for fear of being told how wrong I was but here goes (please be gentle):

This is the hive I made double brood box less than three weeks ago so should have plenty of room right? Well did a full inspection and found capped queen cells! Split out a few frames into two nuc boxes and removed any remaining queen cells. Found the queen and she was pipping - really loud. So presume I caught this hive literally in the nic of time. I also noticed that I had the small entrance set so increased this to the large entrance - I have never been a remove the whole entrance block kind of guy but am beginning to wonder!

This hive has a lovely nature, didn't really need smoke, so hoping the nucs take and have a similar nature - fingers crossed they are also good honey producers!
 

The Poot 

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How would you know if they are storing fondant! What does it look like. Serious question, I have fondant still on, but lots of pollen going in, and want to put supers on. But want to avoid them storing fondant.. thanks for any help with this one.
The bees add water, turn into sugar syrup and store it, cap it and it looks like honey stores.
If you have lots of wet cells, indicating nectar going in, remove the fondant and add the super.
My issue is at present is that there is very little sign of nectar going in - if it is, it is being used immediately and not stored.
That, I think will change this week as temperatures rise in my area.
 

madasafish 

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How would you know if they are storing fondant! What does it look like. Serious question, I have fondant still on, but lots of pollen going in, and want to put supers on. But want to avoid them storing fondant.. thanks for any help with this one.
Stored fondant looks like nectar. So if you see glistening nectar being stored, that will be fondant (and nectar if any coming in). When I see that and there are other stores (more than half a frame - I take off fondant.
 

Boston Bees 

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Well did a full inspection and found capped queen cells! Split out a few frames into two nuc boxes and removed any remaining queen cells. Found the queen and she was pipping - really loud. So presume I caught this hive literally in the nic of time.
If you would like comments on what you did it's worth being more specific. What was on the frames you split into two nuc boxes? Where did you put the nuc boxes? Is the original box still on the same stand, or another stand, or is it now empty? Which box is that queen you found in?

Was the queen marked, or recognisable as your old queen? A piping queen suggests (in my limited knowledge) that what you saw may have been a newly emerged virgin (as does the fact that the queen cells were capped of course, though that's not 100%)?

Always a challenging situation to deal with.
 

Niv 

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If you would like comments on what you did it's worth being more specific. What was on the frames you split into two nuc boxes? Where did you put the nuc boxes? Is the original box still on the same stand, or another stand, or is it now empty? Which box is that queen you found in?

Was the queen marked, or recognisable as your old queen? A piping queen suggests (in my limited knowledge) that what you saw may have been a newly emerged virgin (as does the fact that the queen cells were capped of course, though that's not 100%)?

Always a challenging situation to deal with.
Nucs are on a new site. Couple of frames of BIAS with 2 queen cells.

Hive is in original location and the queen was left in there.

This hive had a late supercedure last year so I did not mark the queen (concerned about damage too late in season for hive to recover) so it is difficult to determine if this is a new queen or not, however my limited knowledge does agree with yours in that I believe this often suggests a new queen.

Have found is challenging to know what to do for the best so far this season as its been so cold I have not wanted to be too intrusive with the hives, and therefore have limited inspections a little but it seems this approach may have contributed to my situation.
 

GuyNir 

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Was the queen marked, or recognisable as your old queen? A piping queen suggests (in my limited knowledge) that what you saw may have been a newly emerged virgin (as does the fact that the queen cells were capped of course, though that's not 100%)?

Always a challenging situation to deal with.
I’ve seen an old (mated) Q piping before. Don’t think this necessarily suggest a new virgin Q.
 
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Angularity 

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Did an inspection at home yesterday, as the weather was lovely and hot. One hive (local mongrels) thriving, the other (£40 Carpathian bought in last year) not doing well, low numbers and little brood. Half an hour later I had a bit of a nose at the slabs in front of the hives, and found the dead body of the Carpathian queen. I know she was in the hive when we inspected them, because we saw her. She also had some damage on the back of her abdomen, which made me think she had been bitten.

Seems like the bees have less patience with a failing queen than I do. They have eggs and there are drones about, so I shall leave them and see what turns up.
 

drdrday 

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More a case of what I didn't do...
Inspected one double brood hive, and a nuc, but resisted the temptation to open up my other hive.
When I did the first inspection on 8th April I found just one uncapped queen cell (larva and plenty of royal jelly inside). Spotted the queen, and there was BIAS but only 4-5 frames. Fairly certain this hive tried to supersede at the end of August last year, but the newly mated queen didn't make it back to the right hive, and instead ended up sitting on the side of another hive. She went in a nuc, and they've overwintered really well.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that given there was only one queen cell, that the queen's laying wasn't very prolific, and the history at the end of last season, that this is supersedure and not swarming.
Time to sit on my hands, cross my fingers and just wait now...
 

Gilberdyke John 

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Introduced a potential new beek into contact with a couple of hives as an observer while I carried out inspections. She was unfazed by being surrounded by bees or having a few walking on the veil inches from her face plus asked sensible questions as I worked. Conditions were very favourable, warm, the sun was out, little wind, foraging going on with pollen carried by most of the returning bees. BIAS on 5 frames and nectar being stored in outer comb. She thought it was fascinating. I can forsee her having a split from one of my colonies as the spring progresses and numbers build up.
One of the questions I was asked was do bees forage at night or do they come home to bed? This led to asking if they could "see" in the dark as natural hives would be pitch black inside. It got me thinking about reasons not to forage at night. Amongst other factors I could come up with off the top of my head were lower temperatures, plants not producing nectar at night but I'm sure there must be other factors to give a fuller explanation. What else should I have included?
 

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