Honeybees – 3rd April 2016

Honeybees – 3rd April 2016

The bees are flying in all 3 hives! I might be heading for a 100% over-wintering success rate (this would be a first for me). I give the Bee Cosy quite a lot of credit for this, as this was the main thing I did differently this winter.

Honeybees flying on 3rd April 2016 bringing in pollen (near hive, part 2)
Honeybees flying on 3rd April 2016 bringing in pollen (near hive, part 2)

The two hives in the allotment had 100s of bees flying in and out and the one in the farmer’s field that I had all but written off, had a few bees going in and out.

All hives had pollen going in as you can see in the photos.

Honeybees flying on 3rd April 2016 bringing in pollen (near hive)
Honeybees flying on 3rd April 2016 bringing in pollen (near hive)

I  could see a few bees with deformed wing virus wondering around on the grass by the “near hive” in the allotment. The treatment for this is to reduce the varroa that carries the virus. I am also pretty sure I saw a bee with k-wing (which is due to tracheal mites). The treatment for this is to requeen as the queen might be producing bees that are susceptible.

Plan is to use MAQs on all hives when it arrives in the post.  It is now 10C plus and the Bee Cosies should help the effectiveness.  Need to research and consider shook swarm to reduce DWV.  Not planning on re-queeening yet for the k-wing, until I see more evidence of it when I do an inspection.

Question to readers: how does one reduce DWV? It’s associated with varroa.  Reducing varroa helps … but does a shook swarm help further or make no difference?

You can find my hive records here.

More videos below (including one of bee with deformed wing virus):

Author: Roger

regaining my sanity through beekeeping

8 thoughts on “Honeybees – 3rd April 2016”

  1. We have overwintered 9 hives. 8 have brood and number 9 we are going to give a frame of brood to from a hive with 5 frames, because we couldn’t see any brood in there but pollen is going in. If there is a queen and she hasn’t started laying yet , they won’t make new queens, but if they are queenless, they should make a queen from the eggs in the frame we give them. We use kingspan for insulation and we have found that feeding them with fondant has kept them going. We use our oxalic acid vaporiser to kill the varroa and it is much more effective than dribbling. Also doesn’t adversely affect the bees. So the two things that have kept our hives alive over winter seems to be a. feeding fondant and b. varroa treatment with our home made vaporiser. We now produce these for £50, much cheaper than Thornes and other beekeeping suppliers. We have also developed an external feeder which we use to feed sugar syrup and Spring Booster. Very useful as you don’t need to go into the hive at all. We sell these too. they just slot into the entrance. Good luck with your bees.

  2. Hiya. Looks like you’re having good weather as well – still a bit cold and wet up here in the North East. So you’ve decided against the oxalic acid vapouriser? Why?

    1. I have been too busy to research the vaporiser. I have now read up on it. I’m probably going to do it. It would be useful if the beekeeping suppliers sold the whole kit, i.e. battery plus masks, etc. Vaporiser costs £100 new.

      1. I’m leaning towards the vaporiser as well, but £100 for something that looks so simple looks a bit steep. Good luck!

  3. A shock swarm would give them a brood break and push back varroa, but it’ll also impact the bees spring build up, probably unnecessary if your going to use Maqs.
    Maqs should knock down acarine mites as well as varroa but do follow the instructions, I’m not sure how bee cosy’s fit with those.

  4. We’ve had one of the warmest winters on record … December was ~4oC higher than the 30 year average (see graphs here: http://theapiarist.org/waving-not-drowning/) so I’m not sure I’d credit the bee cosy with getting colonies through. It may have helped, perhaps allowing the queen to raise brood a little longer into the autumn … more bees are definitely better going into winter. My colonies in cedar boxes have done OK. So far. No losses yet, but it’s still too soon to be certain and I won’t be confident until I see if any don’t build up as the spring develops. The only colony I know I’ve lost is a poly nuc which was eaten/frightened away/trashed (delete as appropriate) by a large family of mice.

    A brood break may well help your colonies, but timing is critical to ensure you don’t stop them developing strongly … it needs to be warm enough and they’ll need to be fed well.

    1. Thanks for advice.
      Emotionally – I’m very happy with the Bee Cosy. A traditional hive box looks pretty thin and cold to me. Making the insulation more like a tree trunk, to my mind, has to be a benefit.
      Scientifically – I’ll need many more winters to see if it does improve colony survival.

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