Category Archives: Equipment

How to find the Queen

Finding an unmarked queen is difficult enough so getting her marked early in the season is vital for what comes later.  As an illustration of that – see if you can spot the queen in the photo above – experienced beekeepers hold your whist!

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the same photo but with the queen marked. Continue reading How to find the Queen

Which Frames?

There is a lot of bewilderment over which frames to use but there shouldn’t be.  Once you understand what the different types are designed to do, the confusion is gone.

In this part of the world we tend to use either National or Commercial hives. Either way, the same principles apply – the only difference being the length of the lugs – that’s the bit you get hold of.

Basically there are two types of frame: Manley or Hoffman. Both are defined by their side bars.

You will sometimes see straight, narrow side bars which are neither Hoffman nor Manley – avoid them because you will need to consider how to space them and it’s not worth it in my opinion. Trust me – I’ve been there.

Here’s a picture of some parts – click it for a better view Continue reading Which Frames?

How to Feed a Winter Apidea

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

Book Review: ‘Swarming: its Prevention and Control’ by L.E.Snelgrove

Louis Edward Snelgrove was a great beekeeper of the 1930’s. He was a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society,  President of the Somerset Beekeepers Association and also of the British Beekeepers Association.  He wrote 3 books on aspects of beekeeping and queen rearing but the most famous must be ‘Swarming – Its  Prevention and Control’ first published in 1934 and is still in print today – luckily for us.

The Master - in Control

Anyone in doubt about his credentials need only look at the cover of the book to see this is a man who knew how to control his swarms – note the steely gaze and not a bee out of place. Assuming of course that this is a picture of himself! Continue reading Book Review: ‘Swarming: its Prevention and Control’ by L.E.Snelgrove

Storm Damage

It hardly seems fair, after surviving all those terrible storms of January and February, that this huge oak branch should drop from the tree last Saturday (1st March)! The more avid bots and crawlers amongst you may recognise this apiary from a previous post of a sunny glade and the same hives with lots of honey on board.

But weren’t we lucky! Our farmer noticed the branch had dropped and let us know quite quickly – it only broke one hive and we rescued the bees.

Crushed Polystyrene Hive

First sight was horrific but closer examination showed only one hive seriously damaged – a polystyrene one. Part of the branch landed on the roof, breaking the hives stand and the front wall of the poly box popped out under the pressure followed by the first frame. Somehow the rest of the frames stayed in place and the bees were actively coming and going when we arrived to rescue them.

Another part of the same branch landed on a wooden hive (the white one near the centre of the main picture) and the metal top of the roof buckled a bit but managed to survive the blow intact. Polystyrene hives are certainly not as strong as wooden ones but in fairness, this one still had the strength to hold together somehow despite a blow strong enough to break the wooden hive stand.

The moral of this story is to keep checking your hives throughout the winter because sometimes storm damage doesn’t come to full fruition till some time after the event.

Copyright ©, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Acetic Acid Fumigation

If you have old brood frames it is always a good idea to fumigate them before using them again to kill Nosema spores and wax moth. However,  be sure they don’t come from a hive where the bees died of AFB. If you aren’t sure, or if frames contain patches of old sealed brood it’s probably best to burn them.

If the wax is old and very black it is best to strip these frames down and add fresh foundation in the spring – you’ll seldom find AFB in nice clean frames. Continue reading Acetic Acid Fumigation