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How are the bees surviving this winter?

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default Re: How are the bees surviving this winter?

Post by Guest on 7th January 2011, 7:44 pm

I had a look in on my little darlings this afternoon after it stopped raining (a balmy 12 deg C fry )
Knowing how keen they are to greet me I went fully kitted up!

There was a good deal of activity at the hive entrance (good sign) and I gave them a light smoking with lavender stalks. Inside they were crawling over the comb but very docile in comparison with normal. I took the opportunity to take out some empty cross-comb and two bars (see below). I thought at first there was no honey but when I got back to the house I found a small area of capped cells. That is a relief, from the end I was working I could not see any capped cells. I now think the comb at that end of the hive was drawn but never filled, I suspect the inner combs probably hold enough stores of honey. To be on the safe side I have made some fondant and will smear this into some combs tomorrow along with the bars I removed today.

I have had a great problem with cross-combing this year. This means I will have a mamoth task in the spring to get everything straight so that I can lift out the bars. To this end I have started removing empty comb from the hive to make 1" starter strips on new top bars. Once the first big flow starts in the spring I will probably remove (cut out) all the cross comb except for that with brood. This brood comb will have to be shunted along and eventually replaced as the summer goes on.
Well that's the vague plan anyway!

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default Re: How are the bees surviving this winter?

Post by Sparhawk on 9th January 2011, 8:36 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:If I had rats with teeth 1cm long and a few mm wide I would move house.

& the Hairy one would make a fortune in his farm... Laughing

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default Re: How are the bees surviving this winter?

Post by Guest on 16th January 2011, 9:48 pm

The weather here was warm enough to venture into the hive again today.

On first sight (viewed from the non-brood end) there didn't appear to be any capped honey in the comb so I oiked out a piece of cross comb that had fallen to the bottom of the hive in the autumn, cleaned out the bottom debris and put in two new bars with starter strips (made up from a piece of cross comb a week ago). Also put in a bit of fondant with the bars.

As it was so warm I then decided to take a look in at the brood end. I lifted out the follower board and was greeted by the little darlings keenly! Shocked A little smoke tempered their welcome. Laughing And behold.... capped cells of honey


After a good look I closed the brood end and was about to put the roof back on. I decide to have another quick look at the other end, pulled back the fleece and saw a mouse. Luckily I caught and dispatched the mouse quickly. On the second look I prodded my knife through the empty comb and found honey. The little darlings are well stocked and flighting fit!
So all in all i'm.... keeper

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default Mr Mouse

Post by BertieFox on 19th January 2011, 11:42 am

Just wondered how a mouse would get into what appears to be a very secure topbar hive? I know with conventional hives they just sneak in through the entrance if you don't use a mouseguard. I was pleasantly surprised there were no mice in our hives this year as we didn't put the mouseguards in. Is the entrance large enough on a top bar hive to get in or did it sneak in under the lid?

Come to think of it, perhaps the mice are just getting active and looking for places to raise an early family. I must go out this pm and put the mouseguards in place as I still haven't done it this year! bee
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default Re: How are the bees surviving this winter?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 19th January 2011, 12:21 pm

How did you get rid of the mouse? Will he not just return?

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default Re: How are the bees surviving this winter?

Post by mr_sfstk8d on 19th January 2011, 1:17 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:How did you get rid of the mouse? Will he not just return?

Here kitty, kitty! Om, nom, nom...
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default Re: How are the bees surviving this winter?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 19th January 2011, 1:56 pm

mr_sfstk8d wrote:
Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:How did you get rid of the mouse? Will he not just return?

Here kitty, kitty! Om, nom, nom...

lol. I suspect that would be at odds with the principles of vegetarian natural beekeeping. Our fieldmice run a gauntlet between the pigs and the chickens. I actually saw the chickens trying to chase down a rabbit the other day. Unsurprisingly it managed to evade them, but it was funny to watch.

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default Re: How are the bees surviving this winter?

Post by Compostwoman on 19th January 2011, 2:26 pm

Some of mine had a frog yesterday. Poor thing.

I think WT said he dispatched the mouse , Billy...

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