Monday, November 2, 2009

Fifty percent survival, Papercrete Hive & Drones

I was quite surprised today to see yet another hive I thought had died out to have flying bees. I think my initial quick check was a bit late in the day for these Spanish bees! Unlike my Swedish lot who will venture out as soon as it gets above 5 degrees!  This one is in a kenyan which is positioned directly under the canopy of an olive tree. It was probably the smallest swarm I hived so it will be interesting to see how much progress they have made when I decide to take a look inside. So I now have established that my survival rate is 50% which seems somewhat better than a few days ago.

One of the deadouts is my papercrete hive which I had populated for the first time this spring with a large swarm. I haven't had time to open it up yet but I can see quite clearly rodent damage of two quite large holes near the base. These are probably gerbils which are quoite common around here. So I now know that papercrete is no use for a permanent hive. They are though very good as bait hives.

Whilst taking up the kenyan carcass from the apiary to my workshop for cleaning, I did a quick check on one of the layens hives that is still flying. I was surprised to see drones flying! I can only assume that there is a late supercedure going on.

I am spending most of my time, cleaning frames and top bars and rendering the wax from the deadouts into wax blocks. I am not being too particular with it as this wax is destined for candles. I still have so much old foundation stock from my days as an agent for a beekeeping supplier that I doubt I will ever run out of starter strips.

I have been measuring the brood comb cells in these deadouts and they are all between 5.3mm and 5.5mm.

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