On a cool summer’s morning, seven keen beekeepers attended Stephen’s teaching session on preparing supers for winter storage. As ever, Clive was already highly organised with the smokers and the camera and had already taken a sneaky peak over the previous two days with Ken and placed the harvested honey into a secret hiding spot (which only the select few knew of the whereabouts!) We also welcomed Derek, our newest recruit.
Ronnie kicked off the inspections followed by Rob in Hives 4 and 5. In general, our girls’ have been working well in their brood boxes – reducing the brood nest to approximately three frames in Hives 4, 5, 8 and 9 and an average of five frames of stores.
Some exquisite queen cell work was observed in Hive 5, but thankfully these were empty.
Hive 8 wins the Best Behaved Bees Award this week, both for their temperament and their sterling work in the brood box and super cleaning – text book ladies, pure text book!
Hazel gently coaxed the bees out of their home and as usual, our industrious friends in Hive 10 had other ideas! Not only did they not conform to their neighbours’ configurations, but they also managed to lay brood in the supers, which meant a little assistance from ourselves to get things in the right place again. As Roald Dahl observed,
“If you’re going to do something different, ........ be outrageous!”
Hive 10 has certainly adopted this as their maxim. Well done to Ro for finding the Queen, which started ‘Queen Watch’ for the next few minutes, whilst Rob and Basia swept the remaining bees from the super frames to pass onto a rather efficiently organised production line to the shed – manned by Ro and Derek – where Clive placed the ‘goods’ safely away.
Capped frames were removed, brushed down of bees and placed into a super before hitting the production line. An important point to remember is that honey is food, so it should always be placed in a box off the ground when harvesting in this way (E.g. Upturned roof with a super on the top to place honey in for removal.)
Hive 10 is currently running on a brood and a half to enable the brood to hatch out in the correct place.
Of course, Ken was with us in spirit and his ‘Super super tip’ was shared with us all. When storing supers, place an upturned poly hive roof on a flat surface, stack the supers inside and place another poly hive roof (the correct way up this time) on top. This will ensure that your supers are bee proof.
The bees continued to work on the returned wet supers in Hives 5 and 9. These were placed above a crown board, with the escapes slightly opened to enable the bees to bring the remaining honey back down into the hive. The supers are interpreted as being out of the usual hive configuration, giving the bees the impression that they are robbing another colony.
An informative and successful session. Thanks to Stephen for his explanations and guidance. Now we need to remember to treat for Varroa.