This blog documents the story of the Bee Limerick Group and their quest to introduce honey bees back into the city centre of Limerick. Bee Limerick along with its partners are also involved in planting native Irish flowers, shrubs and trees to create a resilient urban ecology.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thriving Bee Hive

Varroa strips were added to the hive on the 19th of September. The following image shows the amount of varroa that had dropped out of the hive by September 29th.

The highest concentration of varroa in the drop tray were in the area directly below the brood. Even though the strips were placed in the four corners of the hive away from the brood. This indicates the highest concentration of varroa in the hive is in the brood. Otherwise varroa were fairly evenly distributed on the drop tray.

                         Close up of the varroa on the drop tray highlighted by black circles

Images taken at the Limerick City bee hive on Sunday 19th of September. The hive is thriving and the warm weather has brought on lots of activity.

The bees are being treated for the varroa mite. Generally I would prefer to use more ecologically sensitive treatments but that will require a long term integrated solution ...and a lot more research. For now,  - rather reluctantly - we are treating the bees with bayvarol strips as we don't want to take any chances of losing the hive to varroa over the winter months.

Bee, bee in flight and bee shadow. The white powder coating on the stationary bee is pollan from the invasive Himalayan Balsam. Bees love this plant for its nectar!.

 A wasp trying to enter a small and crowded hive entrance. The bees had no problem flying in and out but the wasps were put off by the crowded entrance.

The small and well protected hive entrance. On advice from a local bee keeper we delibertatley kept the hive entrance small to make it easier for the bees to guard against wasps - especially as the hive is new and still quite vulnerable.

                               A bee (about to land) covered in in white Himalayan Balsam pollan

Applying smoke to calm bees before lifting off glass section. The glass was completely sealed tight
with propolis and when I eventually wedged the glass open I was hit by a waft of warm air. Propolis may have many functions and I would prefer to design a hive that requires no hive destruction when checking bees. One clear choice for the future is the top bar hive. I have heard both poaitive and negative reviews of this type of hive for Irish weather but Bee Limerick will test one ourselves.

Applying a small bit more smoke - although I feel I could have worked away without the smoke altogether as the bees were totually calm.

Inserting the bayvarol strips. A strip is placed in each corner and away from the main brood which is concentrated in the centre of the hive

                               Carefully re-attaching the grass viewing cover  - without hurting any bees : )

                                                          And finally re-attaching the roof

                           Job done! The bees were actually very calm throughout the whole process.

                                                         Varroa showing in the hive

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