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Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Preparing for Winter
« Last post by Jim Mehta on August 22, 2020, 10:38:43 am »
Hi Ruth, thanks so much for your advice.  I did an extraction a few days ago and found that most of the top brood frames were stores or mixed stores and some brood.  I extracted 4 frames of capped honey and replaced them with clean foundation and left the rest for the bees.  Unfortunately they all collapsed in the centrifuge so I can't put them back!  The super only had about 4 frames of honey and I've extracted those as well.  I put the super back on for a day and they cleaned it out, I've removed it now.  I thought I'd leave them a few days to settle and I'll start feeding 1:1 syrup now.  As you've suggested I'll wait till Sept to start the Apiguard treatment, it's 10 days for each canister so that should be complete before it gets colder.

Interestingly this is the first time my bees have been really aggressive towards me, when withdrawing the brood frames!  I had to walk away two times and let them settle.

Best wishes
Jim :)
Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Preparing for Winter
« Last post by ruth_mountford on August 16, 2020, 10:59:18 pm »
Hi Jim,

Some of my colonies are on double brood over winter. In these cases I do not leave a Queen excluder on, this allows them to move with the Queen to use food in any part of the boxes as they need it. I find these colonies are much slower to try to swarm in the spring and when they do I have sufficent comb to split them with a full brood box of drawn comb and it gives flexibility in removing old/badly drawn comb in the spring.

I would normally put the second brood box on top of the existing box after I have extracted the honey and then feed syrup to pull any undrawn comb and to replace extracted honey. As you already have a second brood box on, if you have full combs of honey which have not been used by the bees for brood, then these can be extracted first. Put the cleanest combs in the top box and all the brood in the bottom box, in the Spring you will more than likely find the Queen will be in the top box, as this will be the warmest part of the hive. Remember - no Queen excluder

The bees will collect Himalayan Balsam and Ivy to refill the comb, but always make sure they have a generous amount of stores. In September give them a good feed and aim to achieve a balance between the Queen having plenty of laying room to produce winter bees and getting the boxes filled with stores for the winter. With two brood boxes this is easier, the problem with a single National brood box is that it is very easy to block the Queen's laying area with syrup, especially when there is undrawn comb still in the brood chamber. The bees have an annoying  habit of filling every cell with syrup before they draw the new comb.

If you treat with Apiguard do it when the weather is cooler. If you do it in the sort of weather we have been getting you will find all your bees outside the hive, you will also find that your Queen will probably stop laying. Treat in September when it is cooler (maybe), put an eke between the two brood boxes and put your tray in there.

Let us know what you decide to do and how it goes.
Good luck
Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Preparing for Winter
« Last post by Jim Mehta on August 07, 2020, 08:01:00 pm »
Thanks Roger much appreciated.  Sounds very sensible; as you say they know best!
Cheers Jim
Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Preparing for Winter
« Last post by Roger Adams on August 07, 2020, 07:37:22 pm »
I see no one else has replied so I will tell you what I think but I am no expert.
I would leave the honey in the brood box for the bees for the winter, take off and extract the super, putting it back on for them to clean out then Varoa treatment. The brood boxes I would sort out with all brood in one box above all food in the bottom box probably in a few weeks time and leave until spring, no QE between.
But ask anybody else that you can and then make up your own plan, it is unlikely to be wrong! The Bees know best.
Roger Adams
Beekeeping Q&As / Preparing for Winter
« Last post by Jim Mehta on August 02, 2020, 09:27:14 pm »

I wonder if anyone can advise me on how best to prepare my bees for winter?  I started a national hive last year, which overwintered well and in spring was split twice to prevent swarming.  Unfortunately both new queens in the splits died/vanished so I recombined the bees from both into the original with a double brood.  I now have one super full and capped and in the upper brood box about 5 frames of capped honey also.  Assuming I take the super off and extract that honey should I leave the honey in the brood box?  Also going into winter should I leave the hive as a double brood or reduce it down to one?  The plan I sort of have in my head is to extract the super now and and also 2 of the frames from the brood, then to do an apiguard treatment. and then to put the queen excluder between the brood boxes and wait until all brood above has hatched and then in Sept to reduce the hive down to one brood box going into winter.

Would really appreciate any advice on the best course of action, thanks Jim
Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Queenless hive?
« Last post by NABKwebmaster on July 31, 2020, 03:49:03 pm »
Upon further inspection I've found that one of the QCs has definitely hatched, so I'm assuming there's now a virgin queen somewhere in the brood chamber. Fingers crossed she heads off on a mating flight soon and I start seeing sign of laying in due course.  :)
Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Queenless hive?
« Last post by ruth_mountford on July 29, 2020, 11:54:44 pm »
If you have another colony with eggs, you could transfer a frame to the problem colony to see whether they produce Queen cells. If they don't,
my bet would be on their being an unmated/not properly mated queen in there and that in the next couple of weeks you will see eggs which when capped will prove to be drones.
Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Queenless hive?
« Last post by NABKwebmaster on July 28, 2020, 06:50:38 pm »
Just as a follow-on to this one, a fortnight down the line and I'm now pretty certain that my hive is 'sans reine'. Additionally, the queen cells which I spotted last time have seemingly gone nowhere and the brood frames are now utterly devoid of eggs or larvae. The worker bees seem happy enough and they're still laying-down honey in the supers; however, I suspect that something's gone horribly wrong at the senior management level - any thoughts on what I should do next? Would sticking a frame with eggs from another hive work? Snapshot at All advice welcomed. Thanks!
What's happening this season? / Swarms
« Last post by Roger Adams on July 16, 2020, 03:44:33 pm »
They are still at it, we have just received a decent size swarm in our bait hive, no good for a crop this year but they should draw out some nice comb for next year if they are still there tomorrow!
Beekeeping Q&As / Re: Queenless hive?
« Last post by NABKwebmaster on July 14, 2020, 11:51:38 am »
Thanks for this, Ruth - plenty to consider! :-)
The colony came from John Kirk and is one that he overwintered in a nuc with a queen from last year. Whilst I've never actually seen the queen, the colony has settled into the hive really well and grown considerably over the past couple of months; however, there's still a little room for expansion in the outer frames of the brood box and they have plenty of frames yet to fill up in the supers. they're a marvellously placid bunch and so I had assumed that there was a queen about the place, happily keeping the peace; however, I'm not too sure now. A 'watching brief' is required, I guess - I'll keep monitoring the situation and let you know what happens.
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