Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Setting the bees up for winter

The Summer rush of beekeeping is winding down. Yesterday I did a thorough inspection. 

It is that time of year to take off any honey supers and put on feeders and mite treatment. I am using apiguard on all my hives. It is a sweet feed that the bees will work on and draw down into the frames therefore spreading the chemical treatment that is in it.
It is a foil pack that once opened is put on top of the frames, as you can see in the first photo.
We did not get any honey this year, although it was a good year weather wise. The bees put their effort into increasing the number of hives for next year.
I started the season with one hive after loosing two during the winter. I now have 4 full hives, 1 nuc hive and hopefully a virgin queen in an apidea box. I am very pleased with this!

I have three hives that are queen right and laying well. And two hives that have recently hatched virgin queens. I am watching these to ensure they mate and lay well to build up the bee numbers for winter.
I found a single capped queen cell yesterday in another hive that has a queen. I removed this carefully and put a scope of bees into the apidea box and pinned in the queen cell and added sugar syrup. I realise I made the error of adding the queen cell to quickly. I should have left the bees in the box for a day so they would except the queen cell. When I check it again tomorrow to open the entrance, I am expecting it to be torn out and the queen killed. 
I was hoping to rear a mated queen to have available, should I need one for a struggling hive.
I have two feeders on the new bought in hives, as they will need a lot of feeding before winter. I will put on mouse guards, feeders and closed floors by the end of the month on all hives.
They will need a lot of feeding up until October, before they cluster.
We will be buying our honey from the bee association this year :-(

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