Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Nuked


So far it's been a very good year for the bees. The weather has been kind and the girls have been very busy. I'm hoping this is good news for the fruit trees.

Earlier in the year the bees actually made it out and about
while the almond blossom was still on the tree
Certainly the almond has fared very well and our harvest should increase from the total of three nuts which we have had in the last two years!
Almonds!!
One of the queens failed to come through the winter but the other two colonies are buzzing. Sue has already taken a little honey.


This is as close as I dare approach and this is early in the morning,
before most of the bees are active.
Unfortunately the girls are rather defensive. They used to be nice, peaceful bees, but a few changes of queen seem to have changed their nature. Especially on days when Sue has annoyed them by opening up the hives, it's not unusual for me to get harassed as I work in the veg plot. The important thing, as a honey bee repeatedly bashes against your head angrily, is not to panic. I have developed a technique of bravely freezing. If that doesn't make the bee lose interest, I run for it. A 50 yard dash normally does the trick


Anyway, about that colony which has no queen. There are just a handful of bees in there and without regeneration they won't last long. So on Sunday Sue set up a nucleus. This involves taking several frames from a more successful hive. Five frames does it, as long as there is plenty of brood and eggs, adult bees, honey and pollen. The frames are transferred to a nucleus (nuke) box and all the bees are locked inside for a few days, just long enough to settle in and treat the new place as home. In theory they should realise there's no queen and begin to make a new one. Hopefully, she'll be a quiet, well natured lady.
Some very angry buzzing
was coming from inside this box!!


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