Bad beekeeping, May 2014

It is May, when an old man’s thoughts turn to bees. There’s been a certain amount of swarm-catching but nothing too exciting. I thought I’d write down where I’m up to, for future reference and perhaps as some light relief from the silliness.

Lesson number one, of course, is that if your hive has a pitched roof you need to make sure that the wire mesh covering the ventilation holes hasn’t got eaten away by time. Or this may happen.


The bizarre roof-garden effect is mostly a bird’s nest, and either the moss has survived and thrived or the bird got carried away. If you can’t cope with tragedy, don’t look at this pic.


Continuing on in, we discover that I didn’t fill the top box completely up with frames, with the predictable result that the bees have filled up the spaces with comb, now largely capped. So next weekend I think I’ll be extracting. That was as far as I went with hive one; leave well enough alone I always say.


Hive two had been empty all winter, and a few weeks ago I noticed it had a small population. As in, I thought “oh, I wonder if there’s anything in here”, took the top off and realised “oops yes there is” and hastily put it back on again. So when some bloke phoned me up and offered me a swarm I accepted. It turned out to be this lot, fairly small. I used the old trick of “put a sheet of newspaper between the two sets of bees; by the time they’ve chewed through their scents will have mixed, and internecine war will not ensue”. And so it was.


Here they are, all dumped inside.


And here’s how many they are: about 4 bars, or a bit less, which is OK; they should have time to build up over the summer.


* Bad beekeeping, again 2013/06
* Bad beekeeping 2010/10
* Bad beekeeping 2009/05

11 thoughts on “Bad beekeeping, May 2014”

  1. NikFromNYC — William is across the pond from you.

    I’m not and fail to find you the slightest bit amusing.


  2. It really is *typical* to not even manage to get country of residence correct. But I’d be willing to bet that NicFromNYC *thinks* he’s smart. Dunning-Kruger does explain a lot.

    Nic – the laughingstock is in the mirror – go look.


  3. Our bees are mostly the africanized strain. Can’t really tell them apart from regular honeybees except they are more aggressive against disturbances. And their migratory season is in March-April here. February is the time to bring the hives to the orange groves as the fruit ripens and blossoms at about the same time. In the age of industrial farming it’s nice to see bees and orange trees still make the best pairing that suits each purpose.


  4. By the Eli, that’s a sports team reference image (forgive me if you are aware). Half the people in NY (in addition to Calvin) hate the Yankees too. All the people in Boston hate them, though.


  5. So is there an analogy to be made between beekeeping and planetkeeping? Over at RC, perwiss posted quote and cite:

    ” the removal of a specific coastal ice volume equivalent to less than 80 mm of global sea-level rise at the margin of the Wilkes Basin destabilizes the regional ice flow and leads to a self-sustained discharge of the entire basin and a global sea-level rise of 3–4 m.”

    [Keeping bees is something of an odd hobby; but it does help keep me in touch with the real world -W]


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