The bees have an (ap)idea…

I was going to blog about having brought the apidea back from Mother’s house into the garden; but first thing this morning we found the bees weren’t too happy in there and had decided to take matters into their own hands wings.  So there’s more to write about now!

The apidea is a micro-hive typically used during queen-rearing. It’s just like a normal hive, with room for some removeable combs, space for some food, and adjustable entrance. We’d populated it a couple of weeks ago with a friend’s queen that had been injured and was thought to be on her last legs. Put in the apidea with some young worker bees from one of our garden hives, we thought we’d give her a chance and see if she would survive. Since some of the workers would simply leave the apidea and return to their “home” hive if left in the garden, the apidea was taken the few miles to mother’s house where the bees would not know where they were, and would have only the apidea to return to.

Last Monday, when the workers had had long enough to permanently forget their original home, it was time to bring the apidea back and see how they were getting on. Sealed up for the short journey home, they sounded lively and not a little cross, and we gave them a day or two to settle in the garden before disturbing them. On inspection there was no evidence of the queen at all; she must have perished and been ejected from the apidea by the workers. The next plan, then, was to find some queen cells from another hive and implant them to the apidea, letting the workers raise a brand new queen for themselves. But in the interim, with only a tiny amount of comb in the micro-sized hive, they needed some additional food. We put in some candy yesterday and were surprised and very pleased to find the queen had not perished, but was indeed fighting fit and laying eggs.

The apidea colony trying to swarm

The apidea colony trying to swarm

Which brings us to this morning’s sight – the contents of the apidea all over the front of the little hive, clearly trying to swarm; but with the queen’s wings clipped she wasn’t going anywhere and the workers weren’t going to leave without her. She’s clearly such a strong layer that she’s used up all the space in the comb with eggs and needs a larger home. So later today the tiny colony will be moved into a “nuc” box (still smaller than a normal hive, but with 5 full-sized brood frames). Her three apidea combs will be transplanted too and, with her hopefully now faithful workers, she should be able to build up a decent colony. We’ll let you know how she gets on.

Bees are all of a buzz

Hampton Court Flower show was an early start, the journey slow, having found the park and ride scheme I arrived just before opening. I made my way to the Edible Garden exhibit sponsored by the RHS. The emphasis within this garden is on food from plants and highlights the need for pollination. The British Bee keeping Association in this garden have flying bees at the show for the first time. They would be giving demonstrations, going through the hive and answering questions, helping people to understand the honey bee. The public were able to view the hives from the safety of a breeze hut and enjoy bees in an observation hive. The people who visited the stand were really interested in bees, asking questions and enjoying the live bee demonstrations. The bees were enclosed within seven foot netting and able to fly up and out of the enclosure to forage. By 11am they were quite busy coming and going. The time went by quickly, my legs and voice were a little worse for wear towards the end of the shift. It was enjoyable to meet other bee keepers listen to them and watch them work the hive. The bees were well behaved.
I did wonder where the bees were foraging, later that afternoon I found lots of them in the middle of the show ground, working on a large patch of alums, beautiful blue onions flowers. They were in competition with the bumble bees.

Welcome Nascot Wood Bees

This my first post and welcome to Nascot Wood bees. I took up bee keeping after my ability to take long afternoon walks became more difficult due to a gammy hip. I became hooked after taking a short beginners course and having the opportunity to look in a hive. Now three years on and still learning my passion is still there. Can’t go any where without spotting bees.

Tomorrow I’m off to Hampton Court flower show. The theme bees in the edible garden. I will be assisting the public in answering questions on bee keeping foraging habits and the names of the garden vegetables and flowers. This came about via the British Bee Keeping Association who asked for volunteers to help on the stand. I was lucky enough to be chosen. Great I thought until I got the brief attached with all the plant names carefully labelled mostly in Latin. Shame I can’t take my daughter who did Latin at school. Any way the bee suit is packed ready for an exciting day. There will be an opportunity to be part of live hive demonstrations and talk bees for hours. Bee heaven!