Introducing a new queen can be a tedious, long-winded process. Here’s a good quick method of introducing her 1 hour after removing the old one. No seven day gap, no removing of queen cells, no stressed bees. Yes, it works – I’ve tried it.
Here’s what to do: Continue reading Quick queen bee introduction – Paper Bag Method
A Cloake board is an essential piece of kit for anyone considering rearing their own queens. The method utilises a queen-right colony ensuring the best quality queens. Continue reading Cloake Board Method of Queen Rearing
Here’s how to set up your Jenter kit. It’s how I did mine and that’s now working well.
By the way, be warned – the bees won’t like it when it’s new and the queen will be reluctant to lay into it. So get it set up and into a strong colony to get it drawn out and smelling beeish before you trot the queen into it. Continue reading How to set up your Jenter Kit
An annual quandry for beekeepers is – what to do with all those queenless Apideas at the end of the queen-rearing season.
Most advice is to set the Apidea over a nuc and unite the two but this often comes to one sort of sticky end or another and is less viable when you have a number of them.
Here’s a neat alternative: Continue reading What to do with queenless Apideas
There are all sorts of bees for sale out there – Buckfast, Carniolan, Italian, Russian, Greek – you name it but how can they possibly be better than the locals on their home turf? Think about it, think about the risks in importing diseases and god knows what-all else. Don’t import bees – improve your own.
Click here for more information on the Native Irish Bee.
Here’s how and it isn’t difficult. In fact it’s fun and very rewarding – you will see real results year on year. We used to have some really horrible bees here and only a few hives of them but each year they would chase us round the garden. Now, in the middle of summer I have around 25 hives of bees here and stings are rare.
So make a start this year. Continue reading How to improve your bees
When deciding which colonies you are going to breed from and which colonies you are going to cull, data recorded in Colony Assessment Sheets can be tabulated using this Colony Appraisal Sheet devised by the Galtee Bee Breeding Group. It may seem pedantic but this is an invaluable tool in bee improvement and bee breeding.
Click it for a better view: Continue reading Honey Bee Colony Appraisal
Bee improvement is not difficult – anybody can do it and in fact every beekeeper should do it. The first step is to assess your colonies for a full season and record the data in a Colony Assessment Sheet. It will take a full season because the bees often do not show their true colours till they are big and strong and start to throw their weight about. Once you have the data you can compare colonies systematically and objectively then select stocks for breeding and stocks for culling.
The sheet below has been designed to record both Colony Assessment Data and routine beekeeping information from each visit. Click it for a better view.
Continue reading Honey Bee Colony Assessment
If you are overwintering an Apidea you will need to keep a close eye on the stores – especially in a mild winter when the queen may start to lay early. This one in the picture above has a double brood box and was well stocked with ivy honey in autumn but it felt a bit light so I fed it today. If you are wondering why the air vent is left open – that’s because they have it completely propolised and I don’t want to leave the front door wide open.
Here’s what to do with the feed though: Continue reading How to Feed a Winter Apidea
Once upon a time I used to keep mice. They don’t swarm but they are territorial and they do fight. If you try to introduce two mice, of any or either sex, by simply dropping one into the cage of the other they will fight. However, if you put the two of them together in a third cage they will get along like a house on fire. This is what I call ‘the third box principle’ and the same thing applies with bees.
Before we go any further I should state that the Third Box Principle is not an explanation of bee behaviour but it is a mental model which helps the beekeeper to ‘put a handle’ on what is observed. It is also a particularly helpful thing to know when you are in the thick of the latest bee conundrum and wondering what the hell to do next – it can give you extra options.
Here are some useful things to do with it:
Continue reading How to unite bees – the Third Box Principle