Normally at this time of year, there would be a lot of activity at the hive entrance as the bees would be enjoying the Spring nectar flow, and the population would be growing fast. Not this year. As for the last few months it has been unusually cold and windy which has kept a lot of the bees inside. I do not supplementary feed the bees, so only the strongest colonies survive.I removed the base to look up and could see a small group of bees between the combs. It was also re-assuring to see bees bringing pollen back so hopefully they will be OK.
The base board was quite dry with a few dead bees. It looks like one or two show signs of DWV but I could only see one or two Varroa mites. Wax cappings are visible as well as pollen and a few ants.
Autumn update 2016
The bees did survive the cold late Spring and when I open the base again in October, it was a relief to see how well they had done.
The Daily Telegraph has published an article about tree hives and featuring Matt’s Freedom Hive.
It is now time to get the first of the Freedom hives ready to try and attract some bees. Spring is late this year but I want to get some up in the trees ready for any scout bees to inspect.
The hive needs to be made attractive to the bees. I do this by rubbing propolis and natural beeswax on the inside walls. This takes away any new timber smells and makes it smell of bee.
This Post follows the natural growth of a colony inside a log and any other observations.
1st June 2015
The swarm was a strong local swarm of dark bees. After bringing them back to the log at dusk they rested overnight and the bees were introduced to the log early the next morning. The main part of cluster was put into the top, where it fell on to some newspaper pinned to the top spales. This prevented them all dropping to bottom with the possibility of damaging the queen.
In this post, I describe how John Haverson and I made the log hives : using fire, chainsaw and gouges.
Without any special tools we began by using fire to help hollow the log.
The logs typically are between 32- 36″ long with a 12″ hole. This leaves plenty of wall thickness, needed for insulation.
We started by drilling a small hole through the log, working from both sides and hopefully meeting in the middle.