Sunday, October 4, 2009

Inspection 04/10/09

The weather is remaining dry which is a relief after the rainfall which we had during July and August.  I wanted to have a look at the hive after the last inspection when things looked pretty messy.  Unfortunately time and the ambient air temperature didn't really allow for a thorough look.

The bees were still out and about and bringing pollen (dark vivid orange).  I used a little smoke as I removed the roof, there were masses of bees below.  

The bees were very well tempered so I am happy that everything is in order with the Queen and her subjects.

I added a top super with the 5 "extra" foundation-only frames just to allow the bees draw some comb if they wish (with hindsight I should have done this whilst we were away).  I added the large feeder above that and gave them around 4 pints of syrup.  My intention is to let take this syrup down and store it.  I'll keep an eye on the upper super frames because I don't want them to store nectar, honey and certainly no brood here.  

As far as the potential mess below the brood chamber, which I wrote about in my last post, I am letting Mother Nature do her own thing for the time-being. I haven't ruled out some form of intervention altogether but, as I say, the air temperature makes it unwise.  Let it be(e), I suppose.

Not much else to report as I didn't extract any of the frames inside the hive body.  There were quite a lot, say 50, bee corpses lying around the outside of the hive which I imagine is typical for this time of year but worth recording for the sake of my "bee diary".  

In the past I have seen quite a few earwigs in the hive.  This time when I opened the hive, I noticed one of these pesky lads having a good ol' scrap with a few bees.  My money was on the bees!  It made me smile to see the girls fight their corner, I have a marked dislike of earwigs especially when they're trespassing on private property!  

Lastly, perhaps slightly wastefully, I used up some excess beeswax to make some firelighters.  The ones in the shops are full of chemicals and have a really nasty feel about them. It was a tiny amount, but when the molten wax is poured into cardboard eggboxes and allowed to cool, Bob's your uncle!  

I'm hoping that during this off-season I'll learn about the things that can be made using some of the hive by-products. 


PhilipH said...

Interesting. Bees vs Earwig, wow! I bet that earwig wishes he'd never set his many feet into their home area.

Excess beeswax? How much wax does a hive produce I wonder. I know virtually zilch about this topic but I do like proper beeswax candles. I have distinct memories of the aroma of church candles made of beeswax when I was a kid. A really good and natural scent with no additives needed, as far as I know.

50 dead ladies eh? I hope, for your peace of mind, that this is a normal sort of death rate at this time of the year.

Regards, Phil

Mark's Bee-Haven said...

Hey Cliff! Looks like things are good in the hive -- although I had to look up what an earwig is, haha! It looks like a nasty creature and I don't know if I've seen one. But I'm sure the girls were doing their best to get it out! How cool is it there now? Maybe that's why there were so many dead bees in front. I haven't seen any here yet, and I'm checking close on my next visit!


Cliff W said...

To answer your questions;

Philip, this is my first year so I'm not sure how much wax one could expect from the hive in a good year. Obviously, if you have capped (with wax) honey which is then extracted, that wax is also available. With regard to the candles, I only found out recently when I started reading about beekeeping that the early monks kept honeybees because of the wax which could be used for the church candles - at that time, the honey was a by-product!

Mark; today the weather was hitting 16 or 17 degrees Celcius although the nights are pretty cool, maybe as low 4 or 5. Yes, we're pretty lucky here as far as wee beasties are concerned - nothing too venomous!!

Lynn said...

Hi Cliff. Although we are separated by an ocean, I think my weather conditions are much more like yours than Mark's. He's only about 3 hours from here. I'm also beginning to see more dead bees, but we've had several cold nights, 30's and 40's for the past week, and the days are mid-50 and some cool rain. I'm not too concerned about the dead, but like you, I am noting it for future reference. I'm curious what your elevation might be and if you get much snow during the winter.

Also, I just wrote a book of a reply to you on my blog about the Russian bees. Will keep you posted as things develop.

Am truly enjoying corresponding with you and others about his wonderful hobby we share.


Cliff W said...

We are quite low-lying really, about 70m above sea-level. The Irish midlands probably gets some of the country's more extreme temperatures although it's only ever a few degrees below freezing in winter, -5 degrees would be fairly unusual - hardly arctic! See

As for snow, even last winter when the UK got heaps, Ireland mostly escaped. We are relatively close to the mild westerlies which cross the Atlantic - it's called the Emerald Isle for good reason although with climate change, every season is surprise...

Thanks for the info on the Russian bees.

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Hi Cliff. I agree with Lynn that our weather is more like yours, despite the big pond between us :)

When you say extra 5 frames in a super, I hope you've got at least 8 to 10 frames in the box? Otherwise the bees will build their own wonky comb in the empty space. But you probably already know that and I misunderstood.

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit. I don't know much about bee keeping so I'm finding your blog very interesting indeed. -Jackie

Cliff W said...

Thanks for all your comments.
Barbara, you are right in assuming the frame arrangement you described - it was only 5 frames in the top - although I had always envisaged removing them before too long.

I have now removed these 5 frames (with the comb now drawn) - my strategy had been to get them to draw now when the weather remains fair. The devil makes work for idle hands!!!