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Bees 2010...

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Post by Sparhawk on 15th April 2010, 9:20 am

Having done a fair bit of time in the garden over the last couple of weeks it seems to me that the bees may have had a good winter, there seems loads about of different varieties, has anybody noticed any similar?

I know this doesn't mean that they are out of the woods yet, & we should carry on doing all we can for them...

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Post by Dandelion on 15th April 2010, 11:17 am

Quite a few bumble bees here; haven't seen many honey bees

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 15th April 2010, 1:48 pm

I inspected my bees the other day and they were thriving. There were thousands upon thousands. They had already got brood going on 10 frames and mostly filled a super already.

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Post by MrsC on 15th April 2010, 6:50 pm

Loads of bees being spotted in the garden here. Many more than usual - have to admit that after getting stung by one I've not got close enough to work out what type they are!

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Post by Compostwoman on 15th April 2010, 7:05 pm

Seen one honey bee but yes lots of bumble bees and solitary bees...

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Post by Guest on 15th April 2010, 8:36 pm

We also are seeing alot of various type of bees. I had 2 worker bees land on my shirt whilst moving pots around.

The type we are seeing more than usual are the ones that hover and are small. We call the fuzz balls...and they are sort of orange. We could have a lovely picture of one building her nest in a hole in the poppet on the pole lathe right next to the chisel rest! The lads had to keep stopping treddling so she could go in...really sweet..both of them talked to her as well...big softies really! smitten

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Post by Sparhawk on 16th April 2010, 12:49 am

On the way to my inlaws this morning walking along the river bank we came across hundreds of bees coming out of separate holes in the ground it was a fabulous sight, :cheers: the only down side is that they were right on the young squires' & my favourite & best fishing spot... facepalm

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Post by AngelinaJellyBeana on 16th April 2010, 1:49 pm

On my bee keeping course last week they did say it was nonesense that bees are dying out. More likely that people with lack of experience had colonies that have died and were reporting it, if you get what I mean.

Anyway, my flowering current and forsythia have been covered in bees the last few days. Maybe we are just looking out for them more than we did previously so notice them and I guess the time of day you go and have a look will make a difference as to how many bees you will see at one time.

Whatever, it's good to see them about their buzziness
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Post by Guest on 22nd June 2010, 1:25 pm

We can now proudly anounce the arrival of our first swarm of bees!!!

They decided to land in the wood next to us, on the end of a branch fifty feet up a pine tree! Swarm now collected and hived in our very own top bar hive

Now all we have to do is wait for the honey

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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd June 2010, 2:23 pm

Wood Troll wrote:
They decided to land in the wood next to us, on the end of a branch fifty feet up a pine tree! Swarm now collected

Oh please tell us how ?
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 22nd June 2010, 2:44 pm

Put a bucket underneath them and whack the branch with a stout stick. the swarm will drop into the bucket. Then pour them into your hive, or better, tip them out and put a plank for them to climb up into the hive - bees will naturally move upwards and towards a dark environment.
Bets to give them a decent amount of food to see them through the first week or so because the majority of the colony will be building comb and not foraging. Leave them well alone for a couple or three weeks to get on with it and cross your fingers that they stay.

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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd June 2010, 3:19 pm

It was the 50 foot up bit that caught my eye. Very well judged bucket placement needed !?
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Post by Guest on 22nd June 2010, 5:40 pm

Yes CH it would have to be a bl**dy big bucket on an even longer stick!

As I came out the house I thought "Umm the lime tree is being very buzy with bees today!" only to look up to see a swarm flying over the house. I followed it 300 meters up the road to where it had decided to to have a nice rest, 50 feet up a pine tree.

I waited a few minutes to see if they would move on but they seemed happy with their branch so off I went to get the things I needed. This ended being: 2 piece ladder, pruning saw, large cardboard box straw hat with mosquito netting draped over it 100' of rope and a wheelbarrow.

Before I could get to the swarm I had to get the ladder up by extending it a bit then removing dead branches then extending it a bit etc. Until I could reach branches that were strong enough to climb on. Followed by roping up the box and climbing the tree with the saw and rope over my shoulder. Box was then pulled up after me.

I was now perched up a tree with rope, box and saw looking at a swarm 15' away on the tip of a flimsy pine branch! Hold a bucket under it? First learn to fly Billy! It is amazing how the bees just sit there and hum to themselves whilst you scratch your head and think 'was this such a good idea?'

Head scratching done I climbed out as far as I could safely on the limb below and slipped the rope over the limb above the swarm branch. I then tied the rope on the branch and secured the other 'end' to the trunk. With the other end of the rope I tied the branch to the limb below to prevent it tilting up with the weight of the swarm. The branch was then sawn through at the trunk but as so often happens, instead of just dropping it twisted and bounced off the limb below. The jolt caused a good number of bees to fly off and do the swarming bee thing..... had I blown it? No they landed again and I could start pulling in the branch cutting off stems as they came into reach.

The swarm was now only 5' away so the box was positioned and the branch pulled even closer and the first 10' cut off. A little more stem pruning and the swarm was over the box then gently pushed down into the box and the final length of brach sawn off very, very gently! Swarm in box, box closed, rope around box, box on rope lowered from tree. Wood Troll climbs down tree. Box into wheelbarrow.

Once back into our valley I shook the swarm into the top bar hive. Before I closed up I sprinkled icing sugar over the swarm to keep them busy, feed them and kill mites.

All in a days work for a Troll!

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Post by Dandelion on 22nd June 2010, 8:49 pm

That is an amazing account! I kept expecting you to say that at a crucial moment in your perilous ascent the bees decided to go elsewhere....

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 22nd June 2010, 9:14 pm

Impressive!

How much sugar did you give them? I would suggest a kilo at least of 2:1 syrup. They have a lot of work ahead of them before they can start supporting themselves.

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Post by Compostwoman on 22nd June 2010, 10:42 pm

Did you take some video? I would expect no less from a Troll. Very Happy

Seriously, very impressive indeed. if a bit...risky? But yes, am impressed Very Happy

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Post by Chilli-head on 23rd June 2010, 10:42 am

I thought I could sniff a good story there ... well done, I'm sure I would have had a bad attack of wobbly knees before I got to them
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Post by Guest on 23rd June 2010, 6:01 pm

I think a bad vidio of a white blob up a green tree in a forest would be boring, as for me taking the footage 'close up'..... no bloody way!

Following the instruction of the barefoot beekeeper Phil Chandler himself, I dusted the swarm with icing sugar to keep them busy and de-mite them. They are now happily building combs and collecting from one of our lime trees.

Here are a couple of photos from the first inspection (sorry about the poor quality but the bees were not so happy today and one bee decided to remind me about the sting . Funny that I got no stings yesterday!)



and closer up


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Post by Guest on 23rd June 2010, 7:07 pm

The idea is to follow the natural beekeepers way as mentioned before. We have 4 lime trees in flower, the lavender is just opening and we have many types of clover. In fact pretty much every plant seems to have something humming or buzzing in it so we are not looking to feed them artificially especially as we are not looking to rob the colony of its honey this year unless there is a little spare for a taste. We also have a lot of ivy that flowers for late in the season.

Wood-troll also failed to mentioned his tree climbing bee trapping expedition was done in sandles, t-shit and shorts. I wonder if I could get a job as a "bee calmer" !

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 23rd June 2010, 8:02 pm

t-shit and shorts

Shocked

It is not a question of feeding them to compensate for honey you are taking, rather that 75% or so of the colony will be involved in building comb and only 25 % out foraging and this will be insufficient to feed the colony in the first weeks, which may cause them to either die off or abscond. You can have all the trees and flowers in the world but if an insufficient number of bees are collecting from them it will make not a jot of difference.

I would not be inspecting them at this stage either, rather letting them get on with it for a while.

But to each their own method of beekeeping. I will not trouble you with further suggestions.

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Post by Dandelion on 23rd June 2010, 9:56 pm

Zoe wrote:
Wood-troll also failed to mentioned his tree climbing bee trapping expedition was done in sandles, t-shit and shorts.

It was probably down to anxiety....

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 27th June 2010, 6:51 pm

Bees and anxiety.

Normally they are lovely jolly creatures and you can often handle them with no distress on anyone's part.

Hence the Natural Beekeeping movement.

Occasionally they get anxious. And then they get angry.



This pic was three hours ago (the incident was 8 hours ago). My eye is now completely closed over like a grapefruit stuck on my face. The stings on my throat and in my beard have swollen my neck similarly and it has spread down my chest. My collarbones and upper ribs are no longer visible. More stings on the back of my head and torso.

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Post by Compostwoman on 27th June 2010, 7:12 pm

OUCH! Poor Billy!

Billy, is Mrs R around? don't like to think of you being alone, with your neck swelling up.......

Was it the heat that upset the bees, or was it more of someone else messing with them?

regardless, my sympathies....!

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Post by Dandelion on 27th June 2010, 7:25 pm

You poor thing. What's the received wisdom on this - do you need anti-histamine?

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Post by Compostwoman on 27th June 2010, 7:27 pm

Mmm I would be spraying some anti histamine on and maybe taking some orally as well.

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