24 May 2018

Honey flooding the Cathedral Top Bar Hives

May is a time of plenty for bees. After a late start now making up for lost time in the Apiary. Inspecting my favourite hive that was about to swarm, I noticed  a slab of broken comb had fallen to the floor, blocking the flow of bees to the inner end of this large log-sized hive. Bees were backing up just inside the entrance and clustering too thickly on the bars. Removal of the fallen comb and edging  out some free space to provide more room. Two queen cells at least have been capped so I am confident that the removed queen is about to be replaced.  I shook out some more nurse bees into the queen right hive close by.
My flat top hive is also looking full and healthy, such that I am now free to transfer to a spare Cathedral Top-Bar-Hive using the "Bailey comb transfer technique"; a simple procedure where foundation comb on empty bars is placed above the complete brood box for a few weeks until the bees, together with their queen is seen to move upwards and into the new comb with a newly emerged brood, leaving the old comb behind. Once the colony is seen to be in the upper space a queen excluder is placed in between to restrict her to the upper space which in my case will be the complete cathedral type hive strapped on top of the normal flat topped TbH.  In this way all my hives will be of standard size and have interchangeable bars. Veroa much reduced - abandoned in the old comb. 

Rapidly filling up 

This donor hive has at least two capped queen cells maturing 

The mesh floor is to be soon removed.  I shall spread a mulch of tree fungi instead - New research has found that it can be effective against the Veroa mite, without harming bees in any way

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