Today I opened hives by myself for the first time in three months!  I have been incapacitated with a broken leg.  The plaster is off now and I am able to  drive, but it is still painful and keeps swelling.  I walk with a stick to keep weight off it as much as possible.

I daren’t risk opening National hives, lifting heavy supers and twisting around to lower them to beside the hive.  Fortunately I have a couple of top bar hives which I can open easily as the top bars are at about waist height.

The first one is at Ourganics, a permacultural holding at Litton Cheney.  It is of my preferred  design: a half cylinder with the top bars forming the diameter of 17″ to allow bars to be transferred to National equipment, for example  to make a nucleus.  The entrance is at the southern end and is the shape of  a smiling mouth.

Bees were flying well and bringing  in lots of orange pollen. I gave the entrance a spray of liquid smoke then struggled to zip up the veil of my tunic.  I didn’t manage it and so was at risk, but carried on anyway.

It appears as if the brood nest had once extended to approaching 20 bars as the comb had stores at the top but with a vacant oval section beneath, but the brood nest must now be reducing as the first brood I found was 10 bars back.  It looked  healthy enough so I didn’t examine more than a few.

I got my first bee sting for months!  I had been a little worried as I was stung by wasps a few days ago and am still swollen.  This is one of the unwanted side effects of having to put your contact details on honey jars!  Fortunately the bee’s sting caused no reaction and within minutes I had forgotten on which finger I’d  been stung.

The other tbh is in a cider  orchard at Berwick Manor, a couple of miles up the road.  I was given this one and it is the trapezoidal shape which makes the combs larger, heavier and more awkward. Not as many bars were drawn and occupied as in the first hive but the brood looked healthy and I saw the queen, whom I had marked last time.

This hive too had lots of orange pollen going in.  I don’t know what it is and I didn’t notice  any obvious sources nearby.



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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2 Responses to BACK WITH THE BEES!

  1. Anne Clements says:

    The only flower out in my garden in any amount is orange monbretia (I think it is called). It’s got tall thin leave a bit like iris, but the flowers are on tallish spikes. Maybe that’s where the pollens coming from.

  2. Ma.Grizzly says:

    I try not to worry about my bees but they are in my thoughts. I keep telling myself that they were doing pretty good all season long and hopefully can do lots by themselves to ready themselves for winter. I have to figure out something about feeding them soon. While they did have good honey stores, we had the weeks of rain and dark weather, which digs into their supplies. I tell myself that in about a week I may be much more mobile and might be able to do something, with the men doing the heavy lifting. Hopefully all can get done before the snow flies. Broken bones and keeping bees don’t go too well together. Take care, Chris.

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