Sunday, March 8, 2009

Layens to Warre transfer plan B

I think the upsidedown layens sat on a warre transfer is just too unstable so I have decided to go with other methods.
I have put four warre boxes, with the top two boxes completely empty and the bottom two boxes with normal top bars and starter strips, in the position where the layens was. I opened the layens and went through until I found one frame with eggs in and another with sealed brood. The top two warre boxes will take these two frames diagonally but there is no room for anything else. I then put a solid board over the top with a feed hole covered by a feeder and the upside down empty quilt. I put two frames with starter strips back in the layens and moved it to the other side of the apiary. These are very defensive bees and I used two wet tea towels on the tops of the frames of the layens to keep them subdued. On a scale of 1 to 1o for defensiveness I would give them about a seven. Last year when I opened one up, which I found was queenless, I would have given it a nine!
I also took the opportunity of the good weather to do a Layens to Kenyan Top Bar Hive transfer. I have a box with the same internal dimensions as a layens which sits via a board directly on the top bars of the TBH. The middle five top bars underneath the layens box have been modified with slots to allow the bees to go down through and out through the entrance of the TBH. I would rate the defensiveness of this colony at 6.5.
I feel quite happy at the new method of transfer into a warre because it kills two birds with one stone. I wanted to do some walk away splits anyway to make up for my three losses so if this one makes it, I only have two more to do.
Quite warm today, the spring flowers are at their peak. The almonds have virtually all finished blooming and the field poppies are glorious.

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