Wasp Nest next to our Hives

Looks as if we’ve possibly got a problem: We discovered a wasp nest in the ground next to our hives.

Wasp nest in groundExperienced beekeepers are adament how to treat this problem. If you want to save and protect your bees, you’ll have to kill the wasps.

Some comments on the British Beekeepers’ Facebook site:
Believe me, the last thing you want close to your hives is a wasps nest. A dozen wasps can exterminate an entire honeybee colony.

You can buy a wasp and ant killer called Nippon. It’s a powder that you just puff in to the nest entrance (after the flying bees have gone home). 48 hours later, no wasps.

Or pyrethrum powder at entrance to wasps nest and they walk it in!

My husband uses Rentokil wasp and ant powder. Powder is best and puff into entrance. Do it early evening as they are returning home so they take it into the nest. Wear bee suit and a pair of disposable gloves and wash suit after so bees arent accidentally poisoned.

Pour petrol down hole and just leave fumes will kill em done it loads of times
Not a pleasant task but a large colony of wasps will wipe out all your colonies very quickly. Give your bees a chance!

Drone Frame with new comb

comb building under drone frameSo we’ve given them a super frame in the brood chamber for drone-varroa-control, instigating them to build drone cells at the bottom of this frame.
And what have they done? Built a beautiful new comb waiting for worker brood to be laid…
You never know what bees are up to!

Bees in Feeder

Bees in FeederThe remaining bees in the hive of our swarmed colony are enjoying the sugar syrup in the feeder.

This will hopefully help them to build up their storage and brood again – hopefully, and if a queen is present!

The first 21 days in the life of bees

Anand Varna, a photographer for National Geographic, captured the first 21 days in the life of bees, as they develop from eggs to larvae to fully fledged insects. The incredible footage was presented at a TED Talk on 11 May to raise awareness of the dwindling bee population, which is under threat.


Drone-Varroa Control

Varroa control with drone brood

Drones vith varroa mitesNormally you put a shallower frame in the brood box, ie a super frame in a standard national deep brood, put it at the edge of the brood nest. The bees will draw it out full length to match the rest of the frames by just building on the bottom, this time of the year they will draw drone cells.

When they are layed up and sealed simply cut the whole lump off and stick it in the freezer or feed it to the chickens before discarding it / melting it down. ( Freeze it to kill the lavae and the associated varoa which are breeding in the drone cells.)

Replace the frame and repeat. Later in the season they will build worker cells instead of drone.

Best advice is after 2 cycles of drones replace it with a normal frame and put the shallow frame in the super to allow workers to hatch.

To remove drone brood from a comb itselfJust use an uncapping fork when the drones are at ‘pink eye’ stage. Run the fork under the cappings, pry upwards removing all the drone larva and varroa.
Feed the larva and varroa to chickens (if available) and return the frame to the hive to get cleaned up and more drone brood put in.

Do not let the drones hatch as you will be increasing your varroa load substantially. A hive needs some drones so do not remove all of the drone brood, leave a bit. (from Beekeeping for Beginners)

swarm clinging around their queen

Don’s tips – swarming

5. under crownboardSwarms will carry a number of female Varroa mites, just waiting for a new lot of brood to be raised to enable them to reproduce – a fact that we have to live with – but they are at their most vulnerable in the first 7 to 8 days after the swarm has been hived, there will be no mature unsealed brood to hide in (unless the keeper has given a comb of brood as an ‘anchor’). A dose of varroacide, such as Thymovar, can be applied.

Don Cooper. 30/05/2015

Read more >>>

Queenless Colony

Queenless Colony

Today’s inspection of Susanne’s hive showed (scroll down for photos)

  1. there is no sign of fresh brood or old brood
  2. the colony looks much smaller than it was
  3. a new queen is about to hatch from an older capped queen cell

What can that mean? There are several possibilities:

  • The colony has swarmed with the old queen. Maybe it’s even one of the swarms we’ve caught.
  • Or the old queen has died. (But then – why are there so much less bees?)
  • The new queen will hatch within the next 8 days (it seems to be an already older cell to judge by the colour).

What should be done once a new queen emerges?

  • ” Once a new queen has emerged she will take 2-4 days to start on her mating flights, assuming the weather is favourable. This is the time to NOT mess around with the hive unless absolutely essential. If you really must open the hive (and I find it is difficult to think of a sensible reason) it should be outside business (mating) hours, 9.00am-18.00, and certainly not when drones are on the wing. After mating, which may take several days, depending on the weather, the queen needs time to set up her sperm bank and commence egg production. The minimum time from emergence to commencement of egg laying is about 10 days but it is normally not less than a fortnight (14 days).
  • If at 14 days after emergence there is not a laying queen, don’t panic! What is the demeanour of the colony? Does it seem settled and calm? Does it have arcs of cells, cleaned out and shiny ready for a queen to lay? These are promising, but not infallible, signs.
  • No laying arcs, agitated bees and `roaring` – a very loud buzz caused by many bees fanning – are a bad signs.
  • If there is no laying queen, but the signs are good, give them a bit longer. Wait 5-7 days and take another look. If there is still no laying queen after 3 weeks all may not be lost but, nevertheless, it is time to take action. The action you need to take is to obtain a test frame of brood – which must include some eggs – from other colony. If you cannot provide this from your own colonies you will need help from another beekeeper. Remove a frame from the colony whose queen status is in doubt (shaking off the bees) and place the test frame in the centre of the brood box. Mark it with a drawing pin so that you can easily recognise it later. If the colony is genuinely queenless the bees will immediately start queen cells on the test frame and in 3-4 days you need to look again to see if this has happened. If no queen cells are produced then the colony thinks it has got a queen and the brood on the test frame will be raised as its own and join the colony. If queen cells are found then you are back at the beginning of the process and it will be about another 13-16 days (from when you put the frame in) before a new queen is hatched.
    (to read more, go here: Welsh Beekeepers Association)

mostly broodless cells, some older capped broodcells, nectar is present

mostly broodless cells, some older capped broodcells, nectar is present

capped queen cell

capped queen cell

not as many bees as before

not as many bees as before

yellow coloured queen cell

yellow coloured queen cell

some capped honey, otherwise empty broodcells

some capped honey, otherwise empty broodcells

Recipe for Swarm Lure

(from: Cincinnatibees)

Last night I mixed up a batch of swarm lure.

swarm lure1

warm swarm lure

I mixed 1/4 cup olive oil, a wad of beeswax (1/2 of a sheet of foundation), and about 20 drops of lemongrass oil. I heated the mixture together in a glass measuring cup that I placed in a pan of boiling water. Once it was all melted together, I poured it into a small foil bread mold we had in the cabinet. It solidified into a smearable paste in about 5 minutes. I wish I’d had a nice little jar with a lid, but all the jars I have are too deep to keep shoving my hands into.

Today I’ll head out to an unused brood box I’ve set up near my hives and smear it with this swarm lure. It’s supposed to attract bees…apparently the lemongrass oil smells like the queen pheremone; the oil and wax keep the lemongrass oil from dissipating and make the mixture workable.




Solidified swarm lure

Solidified swarm lure

In the swarm-lure box are 10 frames with beeswax foundation (I’m supposed to have some frames of drawn comb in there, too, but I don’t have any. All my combs are with the bees), so once the scout bees from a swarm come to check out the smell in my brood box, they should find a nice home in a good neighborhood all ready for them to move into.