Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bees Drinking

These bees were in a container of soil I had dug out of a post hole. The rain had partially filled the container.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Oscar Perone Hive

There has been much discussion here about a vertical top bar hive that is quite different both physically and the management methods employed than the warre hive. I have decided to try one here in Spain as it is also a 'leave alone' type system suited to my needs. I have some concerns about it though, namely is it OK for my race of bee and also comb collapse may be a problem. The manual of instructions provided by Oscar are here and there is a translate facility at the top of the right panel.

My version of the Perone bait hive is a floor stapled to an empty British National Brood box with a further brood box above that have been fitted with BN top bars, some with old comb, some with starter strips and separated by plastic narrow end spacers. Above that is a BN Super with Manley frames with foundation. This configuration is smaller than the recommended Perone bait hive but my version is 89 litres volume which I feel is the top end of the spectrum for bait hives.

Here is my Perone Hive set out with some Lemongrass oil dripped inside and lemongrass gell smeared on the outside. I also painted white around the entrance as with my other bait hives.

If I manage to bait a swarm, I will add another brood box to bring it to about the size Oscar recommends. I am a little uncertain where to add this brood box. If I follow Oscar, it would go in empty under the current bottom box. My concern about comb collapse makes me think I may add top bars and starter strips and put it between the top brood and the super. More thought needed. First catch the swarm!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mini Bait Hives

The two home made mating hives I mentioned earlier are being put to use as mini bait hives to possibly bait a cast. I know that some people say that the size of a swarm doesn't influence their preference for a certain hive volume but I have had a cast in one of these before. Furthermore I have heard of casts setting up house in upturned flower pots before so I think, as I have them hanging around, I may as well utilize them. Both hives were prepared in the same way.

I put one wider top bar in with an old piece of brood comb waxed onto it. The other six bars have section starter strips and I have set screws on each side of the top bars to give a comb spacing of 32mm. The screws are also utilized with a wrap around wire to act as a hinge between two adjacent bars. I have opened a pair out on this first photo to show that when two adjacent bars are wired together, in order that if they bait a cast, the bars can be lifted out, opened out and easily wired together on the non hinge side. The two top bars opened out are exactly the length of one warre top bar. Therefore the cast can be transferred directly into warre box as 3 full size top bars and allowed to expand naturally without much disturbance.

Click on the photo to enlarge

This shot shows the top bars in position. You can see the wire hinges if you click the photo.

I have stapled a flap of mosquito netting to cover the top bars and make the top bee tight.

A piece of wool carpet as insulation.

Roof on. Notice white paint around entrance and landing board.

A concrete roof tile is put over roof and overhangs all sides. One end is wedged up to shed rain.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No More Papercrete

The papercrete bait hive I mentioned on a previous post has been destroyed by the storm. I have now found two major negative factors with papercrete as hive material. They are not rodent proof nor storm proof! The photo below shows the remnants of the papercrete hive right next to my drawer bait hive. I will now utilize the drawer bait hive in the out apiary where I was going to site the papercrete one. The drawer hive, made from an old cupboard drawer, has a kenyan insert and has baited two swarms in the last 3 years. I am reluctant to put good hives in out stations lest they be stolen. This drawer hive looks like a heap of rubbish and if someone steals it, then god bless them, they must really be hard up! My mini kenyan bait hive was also thrown around by the storm but you can see it is robust enough to take such punishment. No more papercrete for me!

Please excuse my messy workshop!