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Thread: todays news

  1. #4121
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Yes, she might be a virgin! I hadn't thought of that. I think I'll leave them for a few weeks and see what happens. If a problem, I do have a tiny queen I was going to leave in a double-decker Apidea for winter. I might use her. Or, Jon might still be sending me a couple of queens - depends on the weather.

    Thanks, Wee Willy - I'll remember the swam, and the date!

  2. #4122
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Oh, no! It's a September swarm that wasn't. Thinking there might be a virgin queen in there, I turned the excluder from QX to fully open - and now they're gone. Just a handful of bees on a frame that has some honey in it. They did behave strangely yesterday - as though they couldn't decide whether to go into the nuc or not - but the branch on which they had gathered were empty of bees - so, the queen wasn't on there anymore. Eventually they all went into the nuc. If it was a queen on a mating flight, then I hope she found her way back to the hive from which she came (the swarm wasn't big - but bigger than a handful or two).

    In another apiary a bait hive got occupied - but in that case I'm fairly sure it was a virgin queen returning from a mating flight, and missed her hive. There was none of that frantic comb-building one sees in a swarm, and the hive next to her is now queenless.

  3. #4123
    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Goodness they are keeping you busy


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  4. #4124
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindsay s View Post
    The heather honey here is more often a supplement rather than a main crop because it so variable due to our climate. The last person I helped at the heather was my mentor and that was over 20 years ago.
    I take it all back for the first time in many years a lot of my hives have some heather honey. Other beekeepers here are reporting the same thing. Unfortunately it is in a lot of my frames that contain clover / wildflower honey. In a normal season my supers fill up with clover / wildflower honey before the heather starts. This year very little honey came in mid summer and the heather flowered early and was the best in years so the bees made the most of it. Personally I donít like the taste of heather honey. Some of the heather honey is getting mixed in with my normal honey while Iíve been extracting it. Any left in the frames will go back to the bees to clean up. As this is the first time I have dealt with this I have a few questions.
    Is it OK to sell a wildflower heather blend and is there any demand for it.
    My normal honey sets slowly in the jars, will the heather affect how it sets and its appearance.
    And lastly should I just give the whole lot away.

  5. #4125
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Yes, Lindsay, you can sell a heather blend. Thatís what I did. Last Year was my first year on the heather and, to my surprise after extracting it, found it smelled like heather, but did not behave like heather. I then found out that the bees had also been foraging on Himalayan balsam, as they were near a steam. The blend tastes delicious! So, definitely keep your honey. The clover/heather mix might be similarly delicious. It tones down the strong heather taste.

  6. #4126
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellifera Crofter View Post
    Oh, no! It's a September swarm that wasn't. Thinking there might be a virgin queen in there, I turned the excluder from QX to fully open - and now they're gone. Just a handful of bees on a frame that has some honey in it. They did behave strangely yesterday - as though they couldn't decide whether to go into the nuc or not - but the branch on which they had gathered were empty of bees - so, the queen wasn't on there anymore. Eventually they all went into the nuc. If it was a queen on a mating flight, then I hope she found her way back to the hive from which she came (the swarm wasn't big - but bigger than a handful or two).

    In another apiary a bait hive got occupied - but in that case I'm fairly sure it was a virgin queen returning from a mating flight, and missed her hive. There was none of that frantic comb-building one sees in a swarm, and the hive next to her is now queenless.
    I've lost 3 or 4 small colonies from mini-nucs this year.... They just go on a hot day.

    I have not neen many mating swarms but did see one mating swarm this year from a full-sized colony. It returned OK although the queen only laid up one frame of brood before the colony superceded her so it's now rather small as it had been queenless for a long time.

  7. #4127
    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    I watched a mini-nuc abscond a few years ago. It was a diffuse cloud about a metre in diameter. It rose from the bottom of the hedge (where the nuc was) and then just disappeared over the fence at a fast walking pace. All very controlled. It was a hot day.

    I assume these colonies don't know where they're going. I don't think they've scouted out an alternate venue. If anyone knows differently I'd be interested.

    My colonies on the west coast are bringing in loads of bright yellow pollen. I presume this is ragwort ... one of the few yellow things still flowering.

  8. #4128
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Yellow things flowering near my bees: OSR made a come-back next to my apiary by the Deveron - just a thin scattering of flowers all over the fields. I went there on sunny Thursday - but I think the bees were more interested in the Himalayan balsam growing next to the river than the OSR. Lots of white bees returning to their hives.

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