final part of Bee Friendly, Paul Hirons checks his bees before closing
up the hive …
Excluder and Brood Box
down and see the Queen Excluder. This stops the Queen laying eggs in the
honey super above the brood box. I look down onto the Queen Excluder and
see the colony of bees. I reach for my smoker and gently smoke them and
hear the humming noise go loud again. They are gently murmuring. I
use my hive tool to gently prise up the Queen Excluder and I peel it off
gently. I don’t want to create any fuss.
are eleven frames and I want to inspect each frame. I need to create a
space so I look at frames 1 and 11 to see which one I could remove. I am
in luck; frame 1 has nothing but drawn foundation.
remove it I smoke the bees gently. I remove frame 1 and look at each side
for any damage, wax moth, European Foul Brood, Chalk Brood and any one of a
dozen things that might be in my hive. I gently slide frame 2 across so I
can remove it. It is covered in bees. I hold it closer to my face and look at
the pollen stores and capped honey on the frame.
is shaped like a Cadbury’s creme egg. Stores are the chocolate round the
outside, usually honey on the very outside, then there’s pollen, then there are
worker or larvae sealed brood cells, and in the middle there are eggs.
However this is not always the case as sealed brood will hatch and eggs can be
seen all the way to the stores.
each frame I keep a look out for the Queen. The Queen is bigger than the
worker bees and has a more pointed body than the drones. OK, so she is
not very easy to spot, but will be found on a frame with new eggs on. I
find the Queen always runs to the underside of the frame. I’m careful to
hold the brood frames over the brood box in case she falls off.
I can, I put a spot of paint on the Queen’s thorax with a special pen. I have a
Queen catcher that clips over her and I can gently paint her in the colour for
the year. I think this year is green.
are pests and diseases I’m looking for in my brood inspection, and I’m going to
do a simple article on the things you need to look out for.
careful examination of the Brood Box, I replace all the frames back in the
order they were. I smoke the bees so they go down in the brood box and gently
slide the Queen Excluder back in place.
the Hive Back Together
use my bee brush to gently sweep away any Bees that are crawling on the hive
sides where the boxes rest on each other. A sure way to get bees angry is
to crush bees when moving hive parts about. I’m very careful to replace
everything as I found it.
On all my
hives I have a mesh floor that is simply referred to as the Varroa Floor.
Varroa is a parasite that lives on bees. The female Varroa mite
prefers drone larvae and goes into drone cells when the Queen has laid an
egg. The female Varrroa mite remains with the larvae while the cell is
capped. The drone emerges sometimes stunted and weak. The female
Varroa mite will have produced offspring in the drone cell, usually one male
and one female mite, thus increasing the infestation of the hive.
ways of dealing with Varroa. The use of medicines and chemicals is only
possible when the honey supers are not on the hive.
biological method is to replace the outer brood frames with short frames that
encourage the bees to create drone cells on the bottom, free half of the short
foundation frame. I don’t know why they do this, but they just do. These
short frames can be removed every 16 days or so (remember the Drones take 24
days to hatch) and put in the freezer, killing the host drone larvae and
also the varroa.
method to control Varroa is to dust the bees with icing sugar. Just pinch
the icing sugar pot from the kitchen, fill it with icing sugar and dust the
bees in a cloud of icing sugar. This forces them to groom themselves and
a lot of Varroa mites are groomed off and fall through the mesh onto the
ground. The Varroa floor mesh allows mites to drop through. It has a slide in
drawer that can be loaded with greaseproof paper and a few sprays of One Cal
will make the mites stick to the paper and allow you to count any dropped off
varroa mites each week. Infestations are classed by the amount of mites
collected in a week.
With Your Beekeeping!!