David and I spent a couple of hours at the apiary on Thursday: didn’t do a full inspection as it’s intended to have a Saturday meeting there with a full inspection.
Anyway: there are now 12 colonies at the apiary (plus Janet Dutch’s nuc, which will be moved out as soon as she’s back), and one at Kailzie. The 2nd one for Kailzie will be moved out early this coming week. Still waiting to hear back from Peter Elliott at Broughton, he’s been home a week or so now. If that’s not on, then will look for another site.
Two colonies are on double brood boxes: at least one could be split, which should give another nuc.
Over the last few weeks I have made up gallons and gallons of syrup, 5 complete hives, another 7 (or more?? lost track) supers with frames, 2 spare brood boxes, and have not had any time to look at my own bees this summer, poor souls. All the assistance that’s been coming in from this group is really appreciated.
This year’s nucs arrived 1st July in plywood boxes: the weather had been cold, and Solway had left them in those, rather than transferring them into their Correx travelling boxes. The weather continued cold and wet for over a week, but as they had plenty of stores, we were told they’d be fine for a few days. Three were then transferred to brood boxes and set up in the apiary.
One nuc box was taken to Kailzie and transferred to a brood box there, but the remaining nuc box had to wait another day – it was over-populated and bees were bearding on the outside. This was hived at the apiary, and will be transferred to Kailzie this coming week.
All the nucs have been growing at an impressive rate, galloping through syrup, and are now on at least 8 frames. 2 were so large the feeders were taken off and a super of frames added: this will need to be done for the other nucs, and we’ll need to decide whether to continue feeding syrup or leave them to forage for nectar. (Either way, more supers need to be made up)
Two of the original colonies are on double brood boxes – we could consider whether to split one or both, not sure which of the colonies provided the 2 swarms, but a full inspection will reveal that.
Still need to update the hive records, at least for the nucs and the swarm.
even allowing for each colony to retain a super of honey for overwintering, there are potentially 7 supers of honey to come off (between 80 – 150lbs). C. 10% of the frames only have starter strips for cut comb. Looks as if the order for jars will have to include some for the association, plus labels and cut comb boxes/labels. I suggest 1 and a half gross for the Assn; I’m pretty sure we’ll sell that amount of honey easily. I can also order up labels and cut comb boxes. Organising the harvest can be done at the next pub meeting: including honey for helpers/hive fosterers!
Spare colonies: potentially (if colonies are split) we have up to 4 that could go out to members. If we don’t split them, then we have 2, a swarm (large) and a small 3-frame nuc. (We have replaced a colony that died out over the winter)
If no-one else is desperate for it, I’d quite like the small nuc, it’s only on 3 frames so it’s the easiest to cut down to go onto a Smith): but ditto it would be suitable for Janet, if she wants another. With all the colonies on Nationals, it makes it difficult for anyone on Smiths to take a 5-plus frame colony. (Perhaps next year we could look at that?)