Tuesday, 29 March 2011

March Checks

Both hives have survived the Winter, and have started to lay nicely this Spring. However, both are on some fairly grotty old comb so we have decided to try our hand at a Bailey Comb change on the older hive.

Forewarned is forearmed - and we were lucky enough to talk to a couple who had already attempted a Bailey Comb Change albeit from a different set of instructions (we are following the method laid out in the BBKA newlsetter from last year). Apparently they couldnt persuade their bees that fresh foundation was a good thing and lost a couple of weeks until they had the bright idea to paint the foundation with sugar syrup. We cheated, and did it straight off - and it seems to be working.

We now have 5 frames of fresh comb drawn out in the second tier brood chamber, and were lucky enough to spot the Queen (our orignial rather elderly Queen now) up there too - so we have also managed to add the Queen excluder to keep her above. We are feeding with syrup and there are plenty of eggs. We have added another 2 frames and will check mid week in case we need to add any more.

The second, newer, hive with last year's Queen is slightly less busy. On our original check, we only had 2 frames of brood which seemed quite poor. However, now we are up to 4 and there does seem to have been a huge change in just one week. Annoyingly, their comb is if anything even grottier than the hive we are doing the bailey comb change in - so we are stealthily swapping black comb for fresh foundation and seeing how they go on. I am feeding - although am not sure why - they have so many stores there doesnt seem to be much room for the Queen to lay - hence the fresh foundation which replaces the fondant I did have on over february.

Fingers crossed for a nice oil seed rape crop....

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