What did you do in the Apiary today?

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The Poot 

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Went through H1, my last one to inspect this year to find all was well. This is a late supercedure queen in her first year and is clearly going like a train, with brood in the top half and lower brood box. The queen made an appearanc, we had a chat and I told her I need her in the lower box for next time.

Checked the tray on H4 as I found lots of bee abdomens on it last week. Same again today, so took the hive apart as I expect it to be mouse or shrew damage, but found nothing. Photos below show the debris. I’d appreciate your thoughts.
The hive is an Abelo floor with the castellated mouse excluder in place now. Last week I had it part open. (Photos not taken on a potato today).
 

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Erichalfbee 

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Went through H1, my last one to inspect this year to find all was well. This is a late supercedure queen in her first year and is clearly going like a train, with brood in the top half and lower brood box. The queen made an appearanc, we had a chat and I told her I need her in the lower box for next time.

Checked the tray on H4 as I found lots of bee abdomens on it last week. Same again today, so took the hive apart as I expect it to be mouse or shrew damage, but found nothing. Photos below show the debris. I’d appreciate your thoughts.
The hive is an Abelo floor with the castellated mouse excluder in place now. Last week I had it part open. (Photos not taken on a potato today).
Bees caught on the inspection tray eaten by a mouse or shrew? Meaty protein rich thorax taken?
 

jeff33 

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Had quite a shift yesterday afternoon. Went round remaining 7 colonies, re-marked & clipped queens. Swopped a few winter stores frames with empty drawn comb. Changed a couple of floors, teak oiled WBC lifts in the sunshine. Decided to unite 2 colonies, one is out-growing it's double Nuc with 6 good frames brood (green queen), the other was struggling to get beyond 4 frames (blue queen) and didn't do much last year, she was on my list for re-queening.

Visited a new apiary where I have one colony. Had high hopes for this one, mated later last season and related to my best colony. Colony seemed pretty full with bees and plenty in the super. However 2nd frame in found a charged queen cell. 2 others on edge of frame but just v large queen cups no eggs. Thought too early for swarm cells, found only 2 more frames with brood, sealed worker brood, good pattern, some small larva, but no eggs. Lots of sealed drone brood all on the edges of frames rather than dotted in with worker brood. Ughh, think I have a failing queen who has stopped laying. Found her. No drones in hive, just sealed drone brood. Drones only just emerging in my other hives in other apiaries, so feels too early to have enough drones about for mating just yet. Should I risk it or not....Decided to put her back and take down the supersedure cell. Hopefully will buy me a bit of time whilst drones emerge / mature. Bit concerned re lack of eggs, so will take a frame of eggs from my related / best colony and put that in next time, see if they make another supersedure cell.
Time flies with inspections. I did 2 apiaries today (12 hives) and including the 40 min return drive that was 2.5h gone
I have left my hives superceding but like you, drones are just starting to emerge. I will probably make a small 3 frames nuc with the supercedure cells and take it to another apiary for mating.
 
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The Poot 

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Bees caught on the inspection tray eaten by a mouse or shrew? Meaty protein rich thorax taken?
Ah, could be. I hadn’t thought of the rodent being outside of the hive having a munch. Is that something you’ve come across before?
 

Erichalfbee 

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Ah, could be. I hadn’t thought of the rodent being outside of the hive having a munch. Is that something you’ve come across before?
See half eaten bees quite a lot. They end up under the omf and get chilled overnight. Easy prey.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Thanks Dani - new one on me👍
Remember a bee thorax or abdomen won’t fall through the omf will it? So it must have been underneath in the first place.
That reminds me I gave the sun room a spring clean today, moving quite a few plants. I collected what must amount to a cupful of cocooned wood lice dotted about in a few heaps. We have loads of Cellar spiders in the house and obviously a never ending source of food.
 

Markthebuilder 

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Nice and

Hi Mark,
The 40L storage boxes, are they the “clear” ones?
Have you had any success yet or in previous years with them.
Thanks,
Rob.
Hi Rob . They are black plastic. I googled 40lt storage box and they came up on Argos web site ...pack of 2 for £20.
No this will be my first year trying out swarm traps..
I have screwed in some batten to support the frames I also added some ventilation
(HOLE COVERD WITH 1mm MESH and stuck with white no nails) befor I read that ventilation wasn't recommended. I can fit 6 national deep frames in without modification 10 if i shortend the lugs on 4 of them.
 

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Swn58 

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Went through H1, my last one to inspect this year to find all was well. This is a late supercedure queen in her first year and is clearly going like a train, with brood in the top half and lower brood box. The queen made an appearanc, we had a chat and I told her I need her in the lower box for next time.

Checked the tray on H4 as I found lots of bee abdomens on it last week. Same again today, so took the hive apart as I expect it to be mouse or shrew damage, but found nothing. Photos below show the debris. I’d appreciate your thoughts.
The hive is an Abelo floor with the castellated mouse excluder in place now. Last week I had it part open. (Photos not taken on a potato today).
I see mouse/vole droppings :oops: Just had the same problem!
 

masterBK 

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Spent a couple of hours checking through the 27 colonies at the out-apiary (last checked them 3 weeks ago). No signs of any swarm preps. Apart from a couple of weak colonies they were all generally looking strong and healthy with frames of brood in both top and bottom BCs (typically 12 to 14 frames of brood). Brood chambers also filling up with stores of both nectar and pollen (mostly from dandelion based on smell). Several were in supers but only four have actually put any amount of honey in them so most are just using them for room. The patchy Q layer seen on the 30th March has not improved and seems even worse today so I squished her (another one bites the dust !) and paper united the colony to another one. AllThere are colonies bar one were really well behaved and a smoker was not needed. The exception (which explodes when the crown board is removed) will be sorted as soon as I get the first Virgin queen of the year mated. This may happen sooner than planned as one colony has again raised a couple of supersedure cells ( I destroyed the three supersedure cells I found on 30th March). These cells were so mature that one virgin emerged as I was examining the comb. I temporaily caged this queen while I set up a three comb mating nuk with the other Q cell which I estimate will emerge within hours. I destrloyed those cells in march as not many drones about for mating but now there are plenty of sexually mature flying drones around so hopefully in three or so weeks time will have two new laying queens.
 
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Swn58 

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( I destroyed the three supersedure cells I found there on 30th March). These cells were very mature and one virgin emerged as I was examining the comb.
I'm amazed! Has Yorkshire been warmer than the Midlands? I have three apiaries. Two have only just started to produce drone cells. One has many drones and drone-cells. None of them has any queen cells at all yet. I'm sure that this will change in the next few weeks though.
 

elainemary 

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Time flies with inspections. I did 2 apiaries today (12 hives) and including the 40 min return drive that was 2.5h gone
I have left my hives superceding but like you, drones are just starting to emerge. I will probably make a small 3 frames nuc with the supercedure cells and take it to another apiary for mating.
You’ll probably be fine down in the Gower, much further south, up here talking to a few experienced beekeepers they’ve not known successful mating til May and don’t start queen rearing til then.
 

elainemary 

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I'm amazed! Has Yorkshire been warmer than the Midlands? I have three apiaries. Two have only just started to produce drone cells. One has many drones and drone-cells. None of them has any queen cells at all yet. I'm sure that this will change in the next few weeks though.
Think my colony is in crisis and from what I’ve seen the queen has just stopped laying so they had no option but to supersede. I’m sure they would have preferred to have left it a bit longer. As you say not many mature drones about. Will see if they’ve chosen an older larva next inspection. Will then add a frame with eggs.
 

elainemary 

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Spent a couple of hours checking through the 27 colonies at the out-apiary (last checked them 3 weeks ago). No signs of any swarm preps. Apart from a couple of weak colonies they were all generally looking strong and healthy with frames of brood in both top and bottom BCs (typically 12 to 14 frames of brood). Brood chambers also filling up with stores of both nectar and pollen (mostly from dandelion based on smell). Several were in supers but only four have actually put any amount of honey in them so most are just using them for room. The patchy Q layer seen on the 30th March has not improved and seems even worse today so I squished her (another one bites the dust !) and paper united the colony to another one. AllThere are colonies bar one were really well behaved and a smoker was not needed. The exception (which explodes when the crown board is removed) will be sorted as soon as I get the first Virgin queen of the year mated. This may happen sooner than planned as one colony has again raised a couple of supersedure cells ( I destroyed the three supersedure cells I found on 30th March). These cells were so mature that one virgin emerged as I was examining the comb. I temporaily caged this queen while I set up a three comb mating nuk with the other Q cell which I estimate will emerge within hours. I destrloyed those cells in march as not many drones about for mating but now there are plenty of sexually mature flying drones around so hopefully in three or so weeks time will have two new laying queens.
Good start to the year down in South Yorkshire with plenty of drones flying & mature, not there yet in my part of west Yorks. Dandelion just starting to change the comb colour up here too, they really are covered in bright yellow pollen coming back to the hive this week. Was still goat willow last week.
 

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Think my colony is in crisis and from what I’ve seen the queen has just stopped laying so they had no option but to supersede. I’m sure they would have preferred to have left it a bit longer. As you say not many mature drones about. Will see if they’ve chosen an older larva next inspection. Will then add a frame with eggs.
A lot can happen in two weeks! ;)
 

Bronwen 

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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.
Thanks for this, looks like they have stored the fondant. Very little wet nectar so far.
 

masterBK 

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Has Yorkshire been warmer than the Midlands?
Our part of South Yorkshire (Doncaster south ) is often warmer than the Midlands. My parents lived in Sedgley Nr Dudley and my fruit trees always came into blossom earlier than theirs (they had the same varieties). People often refer to "sunny Donny". I think we are warmer than other parts of "Gods own county" because we are in the shelter belt of the Pennines. There are some disadvantages eg the greater wax moth thrives here whereas it is still not present in the colder bits of Yorkshire and swarms preparations often occur earlier (although none seen here yet this spring).
 

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Sunny donny because a few miles away ... mexborough and all points towards rotherham and Sheffield the skies were never sunny - the pall of pollution from the park gate blast furnaces and the sheffield steelworks left the sky a dirty brown grey when I was a kid ... once you got out of the Rother valley and past sprotborough the skies were blue ....mind you I've spent more time on a stall in the rain at Doncaster market tha I have in the sun ... at least in Doncaster the rain came down clear and not brown... not sure how my lungs survived growing up where I did !
 

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