A week into the new month and finally I feel in control of the new situation. All the hives have had their Winter varoa treatment and they’ve each received a bag of fondant. From hefting the hives it appears that they all have sufficient stores, but having been caught out before thinking they all had sufficient only to find to my cost, that most of the weight comprised Ivy honey which of course, had set like concrete, I now make sure that they each receive a little additional help. This usually takes the form of a block of Candy but this year I’ve decided to go with Apifonda which I have to say, the bees were on before I had replaced the roofs.
I have brought three of the meadow hives from Liz’s apiary to the new site and I was pleased to see, on the morning of the one warm day we’ve had in the last seven, that the bees were taking full advantage and out in abundance.
BEES AT THE NEW SITE OUT IN ABUNDANCE.
The one remaining colony is the one I united and with the recent weather being so cold, I was reluctant to remove the second brood box and risk chilling the bees, but, with two brood boxes plus floor and super it was too cumbersome to move.Fortunately, this same warm day as brought the bees out in such numbers, has enabled me to reinstate the remaining hive. The nuc. frames in the top box all full of stores, were removed to the bottom box. I’m pleased I took the decision to unite as the colony now looks as good as I’ve seen. The bees didn’t seem at all phased by having their lives momentarily, turned upside down, and pleased to report, the following day they were flying in huge numbers. All that remains now is to get them over to the new site at the first opportunity.
A week on and with the help of Mark, our society Secretary, the last hive is now in place at the Station site. It was quite late in the day when we finally got the last hive into the car and the fact that it was beginning to rain coupled with the fact that the remaining light was receding at a pace, we decided that the best course of action would be to leave the hive in the car over night and complete the job next morning. This was the first time I had left a colony of bees in a car for this amount of time and I more than a little concerned as to how they would make out. Fortunately, by ten o’clock the next morning, the time we had arranged to meet, the overnight rain had subsided and the sun was doing it’s best to make an appearance. It took little more than five minutes to get the hive onto the new stand but I have to say, that it was with some trepidation that I removed the foam and tape from the entrance. Pleased to report, within seconds there were bees nervously appearing at the hive entrance and by the time we were ready to leave, some twenty minutes later, there were bees in some numbers leaving the hive. Breathing more than a sigh of relief, I decided nothing more to do other than to leave them to it for the day.
Pleased to report, all seems to be progressing well. The weather of late has been pretty miserable so there hasn’t been much to report from the apiaries however, when the weather has been kind enough to favour the bees, the activity at each hive entrance has been comparable, Optimistically, always a good sign I feel, although I suppose it could mean, in reality that they are all in an equally poor state. Anyway, with the mouse guards fitted, and the winter feeding and the varoa treatment finished, there’s nothing much more to be done this side of Spring. Unusually, wasps have been a real problem so far this Winter but thankfully, their activity at last seems to have subsided, hopefully, before they have inflicted any lasting damage.
FOURTH HIVE NOW IN POSITION
So, time to reflect over the events of the past year and to plan for the next. There’s still quite a bit to be done at the new site including erecting the shed which I’m working on at the moment. As you can see from the picture, most of my spare kit is at present stacked next to the hives and I desperately want to get all of it under cover before the Winter really sets in. I’ve decided to down-size this year and plan to keep Mendip “C” at four colonies and the new Station Apiary at six. There will be room for a number of individual nuc’s and my two mating nuc’s at the new site so hopefully I’ll be able, at last, to get my queen rearing programme underway, anyway, that’s the plan!