KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD!

That’s a car sticker that applies not only to the people but also to the bees.  Visiting the Island today I found that the first hive I examined had plenty of healthy brood but no stores. It’s been like that all summer. The bees are very yellow and I suspect that they have Italian ancestry and are simply eating their heads off and turning food into brood with no thought for winter.

The next hive was on its side!  Something had tipped it over; whether wind, Portlander or horse I don’t know.  It hadn’t been down long as the grass beneath it was very little paler than that which was alongside.  As I was putting it to rights a couple of bees attacked me, not with their stings but with their mandibles. Rodger Dewhurst of the West Cornwall BKA, who has been selecting native type bees for Varroa resistance, reckons that the bees that exhibit this behavior tend to be better groomers and get rid of more mites.  These bees are much blacker than the others.

The National from which we had taken a harvest to be sold at the Chiswell Community Trust’s sale was ok, but had quite a few drones; however we saw the queen and brood in all stages and no queen cells so it doesn’t look as if they’re trying to supersede her.

Next to that is a plywood trapezoidal top bar hive.  I don’t much like that design as it’s too deep, meaning that there’s a lot of weight with not much to support it when manipulated. I closed off the intended side entrance when building it and, instead, provided a series of fingernail size holes in a Fibonacci spiral at the southern end and this seems to be working well, but the comb adjacent to the entrance not only had a hole in it but was partly attached to the front board. As I was probing with my hive tool to free it, my blonde assistant, the lovely Yvonne, remarked that I need a longer tool!  Later she dared me to blog about it and so I have.

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About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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