Friday 29 March 2013

The Big Hive Build event - 6th April 2013.

Will this cold weather ever end (and then give way to April showers and spring storms!!)? Sitting at home here, in front of a roaring log burner at noon for goodness sake, my mind is casting forward to next week's big event - the hive build.

So far we have requests for a total of four hives as far as I'm aware - with Sarah from Melbourne asking for the fourth yesterday. I've started to assemble 4 foot side panels from 20mm tongue and groove board that used to be the roof of a neighbours shed. Won't be pretty without a coat of paint but near no cost. I should have enough for the side panels of all 4 hives. I'll then do an audit for the end panels and follower boards. Does anyone have suitable gash timber for 16 legs each up to 40 inches long? I'll pop over to Screwfix next week for BZP M8 threaded coach bolts (£11.29), BZP M8 nuts (£3.32 for 100 nylocs!!) and large flat M8 BZP washers (£0.73 for pack of 10 and each hive uses 8, so 4 packs needed so far).

So along with sustenance, power, wear on the tools, transporting materials, etc I don't think that a nominal charge of £20 to £25 per hive would be unreasonable, especially as some components of the hives will have been preassembled and drilled (I'll be using 19mm entrance holes as these fit trimmed wine bottle corks - I don't drink enough champagne or get invited to the right parties to have larger corks floating around).

The other areas to consider are top bars, hive bottoms (solid - shallow or deep, mesh or open), and roofing. If I can make the space I can rip down top bars from suitable boarding but I may have to actually buy this unless someone has some old floor joists, off cuts or something similar I can use, ideally 17 inches long or more.

Any thoughts, comments or offers on any of this would be helpful as we don't have much time after Wednesday's meeting to get some of this done. Please use the comments below.

Happy Easter to you all,


Tuesday 19 March 2013

Saw this and thought of you all

Whilst trawling my photos I came across the image below. It is the first type of internal feeder that I made; having seen the design on another web site. It was pretty easy to made, from some scrap bits of 3mm marine ply and galvanised wire. My only modification was the cut-out in the top bar that allowed access without disturbing the follower board. A 300mm hook, made from the same wire, allows the float to be lifted level with the top of the feeder box and sugar syrup gently poured over/past it. In theory it shouldn't disturb the bees very much but, bees being bees, they would often want to investigate the flowing liquid with sticky results (for them). It might be easier to use some sort of funnel arrangement rather than pouring in direct.

The small piece of wood with the hoop is a float, with three countersunk
holes, that stops bees from falling into the sugar solution
Anyway hope this of some help and gives you something to do during the cold winter evenings; although the clocks go forward this weekend so summer is on its way.


Sunday 10 March 2013

First Bees

Whilst waiting to be picked-up for work this morning I noticed my first bees in Doha. The few I saw were working hard to try and find pollen and/or nectar amongst some rather scruffy bedding plants; but without much success as most of the flowers were either closed or not yet fully formed.

The bees themselves were small and fairly dark with pale grey pollen bundles on their legs. I will try tomorrow to photograph a few if they stay still long enough and at the weekend I will try to bee-line them to see where they are coming from. So cue some funny looks from other residents!

I'm happy now that I have something bee related to do and that it's an activity that doesn't revolve around shopping or eating!

Cheers for now......


Thursday 7 March 2013

More Bees or Bees Part III (3rd time Lucky?)

Thursday 7/3/13

I get a surprise phone call from Dave on Wednesday evening to say someone in the Belper area was looking to get rid of a colony along with hive, would I be interested? YES!

Thinking this would be happening over the next week or so imagine my shock when I got a call this afternoon to ask if I was really interested and if so could I collect them soon?
"How soon?" I asked.
"Anytime today or tomorrow morning. We're moving house tomorrow and we would like to hand them  over as soon as possible".

Okaaay, a little sooner than I'd expected.

"How big is the hive, I've only got a car, and do the legs come off?" I asked.
"About 4ft long and no the legs don't come off" was the reply.

Length is ok but height not good. Tricky.

"We could saw the legs off if that helps", they said.
"Right-ho, do that and I'll be there as soon as possible"

And off I went and arrived home 45 mins later with a hive without legs plus bees (I hope, not yet verified). It's currently sat on the patio on two concrete blocks.

 Its a bit of an odd looking hive maybe its the lack of legs ...

Looks like the ones produced by Thorne and appears to be made from plywood. I haven't measured the dimensions yet but seems to be no longer than 3ft.

Moved to its new temporarily permanent place in the garden this morning (Saturday 9th). Didn't hear much from the hive when I was shortening the legs and moving it around. Hope they're still in there!

Not likely to see any activity in the next few days given the weather predictions (the gaffer tape has been removed from the exit hole at the front just in case they want to go for a fly round).

Saturday 2 March 2013

Garden activity

Hi all
It was great to see you all on Thursday , the turn out was fantastic and we're all enthused ready for the spring.
As the sun has got its hat on we've has a lot of flying today and the bees have been feeding on Monique's snowdrops in the front garden .

So it looks like they know how to make the most of the sunshine  and they are coming back loaded up and taking a rest in the Sunshine on the roof of the hive. Not sure about the pollen though very pale.
So we look forward to beeing with you all on Wednesday .