Sunday, August 30, 2009

Click to enlarge

I saw this today. A black wasp with a long tail depositing it's eggs in the occupied mason bee holes in my solitary bee house. When I first saw it, I thought I wouldn't have time to get my camera, attach the macro lens and get a shot in but I needn't have worried, this lady took her time and spent several minutes at this. Anyone know the species of wasp, I think it may be a
ichneumon wasp but would appreciate knowing for sure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Warré Bee House Entrances

Click to enlarge

I fitted the Warré bee house entrance porches today. As you can see I have painted each one a different colour. The proximity of the entrances could lead to serious drifting so now I think I have enough of a contrast between each one.

I did a brief inspection on the kenyan in the barn this afternoon. I went about half way in. Still plenty of brood and the bees were calm. I did spot one bee with deformed wings so I will monitor this and look for further instances. Last inspection showed plenty of stores at the far end that I didn't inspect today. There was quite a bit of unsealed nectar in the first few combs but I am not going to harvest from this hive this year. I want them to winter well on plenty of their own stores. If they survive a third season without treatments, I will split this colony into two next summer and put them in mini kenyans sat on top of warré boxes in the warré bee house.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

After some discussion with Scott McPherson on the Natural Beekeeping Network forum I made up two kenyan to warré transfer boxes. Photo shows both boxes with one upside down. The idea is to sit the mini kenyan on top of a standard warré box. The width of this mini kenyan is eactly the same as a warré box and the added wings close off the gaps. I had thought originally I might two tier them putting the lower one with all the brood and the top one with all the stores. Of course I would have had to make some slotted bars to allow the bees up to the top one. Anyway I have decided I may actually split my kenyan next year and use just one box on top the warré's. Thanks Scott, although I had thought this is the only way to do something like this, you had actually beat me to it with your photo here:-
Great minds!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bee Hive moved into Warré Bee House

At last a warm sunny calm day! I moved the Svea/Warré combination hive into the new bee house after first painting that corner with Falu red paint. I will finish painting the bee house at a later date. I smoked the bees then put a floor board and a new warré box section with starter strips into place in the corner of the bee house nearest to the hive. Then without taking the top board off the Svea, I lifted the Svea section out of the way. This box was full of honey and weighed a considerable amount. I then took the warré section that I had given to them on June 29th and which was now fully drawn and filled with brood and put it directly on top of the new warre section. I then sat the Svea box on top of the two warré sections. The old floor was covered in bees so I propped it up at the new entrance. Later in the year when it starts to get cold I will add a square of old wool carpet to sit on top of the Svea box. I could have harvested some honey but I have left it all in there so that they can be sure of a full larder for the winter and means I will not have to feed this colony any sugar syrup. Next spring I will use the lifting gear and add a further warré section. Later in the summer I will remove the Svea section and harvest the honey. Then it will be a pure warré hive.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lifting gear trial fit into warre bee house

I did a trial fit of the lifting gear in the warre bee house. I used ten huge eye bolts screwed into the cross bars at all five hive stations. The lifting winch simply clicks onto the eye bolts at the required station. I used a brick to simulate some weight on the hook. So far so good.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Finished the warre bee house today, well it still needs a coat of paint but all the structure is there. Fitted the runners for the rear sliding doors. There are two wide doors at the top and three sliding doors at the bottom. The bottom doors are to allow access to slide in a warre section underneath. The top doors are to allow access to fit the lifting gear onto each station. Now the whole thing is pretty bee tight so I will drill a small hole at the top under the roof overhang at each hive station to allow trapped bees out when I have done a manipulation. Here are a couple of photos which show rear doors and one of the front with the first 'porch' in place. The warre hive to the left of this will be transferred to this station in the near future.