Liz encouraged a packed classroom of members to carry out the first inspections of the year on their hives. Checking for possible disease and stores. Although they may be flying strongly in the Spring sunshine there is a limited amount of plants in flower to give them the nectar required to start a aisle ng the first of this years brood. She also showed us videos of the entrance to one of her hives, taken today 7th March, showing bees bringing in pollen in large quantities.
She reminded us that there should be between 3 & 4 full deep frames of honey still in the hive . if not fondant or sugar syrup can be given to feet any short fall.
With the increase of flowers becoming available, be aware of the bees storing new nectar in the brood box which may have a limiting affect on the space available for the queen to lay. This may then lead to early swarming. Put a super as soon as it is needed.
A quick look at the various types a queen cells, Emergency, Supersedure or Swarm and what to do with each of type.
Reminders were given as to what describes a healthy colony. Nosema, Acarina, chalk brood and varroa were mentioned as infections to be looked for.
Ensure that any treatment given is approved and its use correctly recorded in our hive notes which need to be kept for 5 years.
With the arrival last year of the Asian Hornet it is important to keep a good lookout for them. Disruption of the line of site flight paths to the entrance of the hive can be helpful in assisting the bees to repeal the hornets.
Hornet traps should be placed in your apiaries. Thornes sell one with 5 sachets of attractant at a fairly reasonable price. December to April is the best time to ensure these traps are in use as this is the main time the queens are active before forming her new colony which is capable of producing 250 new queens in a season.
Arnia remote hive monitoring.
Following a talk at the Surrey Bee Day, Liz wanted to look at what was possible using this equipment. Initially it started out as a desire to use acoustics to try and predict swarming. Although this has not yet been successfully developed there was a realisation that the idea of the sound of the colony can be used to monitor other events occurring in the hive.
Temperature, weight, humidity and noise are now measured and collected along with basic weather conditions. The amount of bees flying in and out of the hive are also recorded.
A monitor gateway collects data from each monitored hive and using the 4g network enables this information to be looked at from a tablet, mobile phone or PCs.
flight activity, fanning activity, colony development, hive humidity, brood temperature, hive weights, apiary weather conditions are all available.
Basic set up is around £800 for the 1st set up including the required gateway per apiary.
Graphs are available which can be used to highlight situations such as when a queen starts laying. Comparisons between hives can show differences in performance. Alerts can be raised to show for instance a queen who is no longer laying or may have swarmed.
This equipment does not remove the need for regular inspections but can provide very useful data to assist in managing hives.