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Lorrainelovesplants

Lorraine's beeblog bits

Im not going to be doing this all the time, but will chuck stuffin if I think its interesting or I have nice photos.

so -

HOW I GOT STARTED

I joined wadebridge bee club in 2005 and during the summer went to the club apiary and did a lot of watching and listening and a bit of handling.  At this time I was an unstung virgin!

I bought a suit (70 from BB wear) and John made me a hive tool (he is a blacksmith remember), and thought to get some experience before I got my own bees.

In 2006 I bought some 2nd hand Smith hives and got a small nuc of bees from a club member, who also agreed to be my mentor for a year.  This was a great way to learn - I just did my thing and kept my logbook and he told me if I was being a twit or helped me or pointed out stuff etc - really useful to build up confidence.



THIS IS ME AND MIKE CHECKING MY FIRST COLONY.  The toolbox contains porter bee escapes, an epipen, anti-histamine cream and tablets, a pen, a pencil, hive lugs, and a spare hive tool etc.

So to start is a bit expensive - I needed a suit (John has just bought a brand new one for 45 from ebay - really nice one), a hive tool, a smoker (mine was 2nd hand), and a hive.  I use Smith hives cosIm a girl with a back problem - Smith's are smaller than Nationals, and when a hive is full of beesand honey - its HEAVY!

Now that Ive got a few spare hives (you will need at least 1 spare) my yearly expensive is small - sugar for feeding in winter and early spring and a varroa treatment.

Think thats enough to get started. Oh, here's another photo - checking the individual frames of bees.

bodger

Thats brilliant Lorraine. Many thanks.
sandrar

fascinating reading. I'll try to add a bit here and there as well.

At present I'm only helping my son with his hives but in a couple of weeks I'll be attempting to make a top bar hive and hopefully next year will obtain a swarm to house in it.
Lorrainelovesplants

I went to a natural beekeeping meeting closeby to see what all the thing about top bar hives was all bout.  Good turnout - about 12 or so local keekeepers and wanabees (wanabees - get it? )

anyway......




Quite liked this - the entrance is the tiny gap where the lip is protroding on the right hand side, but you can divide the hive into 2 internally and use any/all of the three white round bits at the front (stoppered with plastic stoppers here in photo) The dark brown door in the side is an observation window, when you drop it down there is a perspex or glass window to let you see whats going on without distubing the bees - quite clever.




Its called a top bar hive becasue it has bars going across internally instead of frames and they are hung from the top.




This bar has a little bit of foundation to get the bees started.  The bar has a little groove in it which you can insert a bit of foundation and just stick it into place with a little melted wax.




This one has been extended by the bees.
sandrar

Fantastic...do you have one ?

One concern I have is - I've read that you need to handle the frames carefully, not twisting them as when they are heavy they can collapse. Also I've never made anything before having a handy husband and two sons, but I want this to be my project.
Lorrainelovesplants

Next blogbit.....
Ive got photos of top bar in detail.

I quite fancy them because they are cheaper to run and they disturb the bees less, but harvesting the honey is a bit more faffy.  You cant just spin it off as frames.
You have to break bits of the comb off and put in a bucket and then try and drain honey off slightly warm.  takes longer and there is more chance of the honey absorbing water from the air....

Im really quite happy with my Smith hives TBH, but i found it interesting.  Would need to run one for a year myself to see how it performed in relation to a normal hive.

And i have a friend who keeps a hive here and she treated them with a 'natural' non-chemical varroa treatment (and its not worked that well).
sandrar

My son has a couple of Nationals and has an outlet for his honey, so I was thinking the honey from my TBH could be for personal family use, as from what I have understood you take much less and little and often rather than all at once.

I also like the idea of being able to compare the two methods and not being at all competitive I'm hoping mine will out perform his

We are in the 2nd 2 week period of Apiguard just now. Very little mite drop
Lorrainelovesplants

If you see any drone brood, just pick a couple out and check for varroa on them - it shows really well on the white grub thing.  This will upset the bees just a little, but its worth checking.
In the spring, i put a super frame in the brood box to encourage the queen to fill and lay here..then i remove this and destroy all the brood...at the very start of the season this is a good way to get rid of varroa....

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