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Never take your eye off an observation hive!

I’m learning very quickly that you cannot keep too close an eye on bees in an observation hive. Yesterday an increasing roar from the hive alerted me that something was most definitely amiss.

Regular blog readers may remember that as the nectar flow was drawing to a close, the observation hive was beginning to get rather too full of honey, so with a few little incidents, I replaced the super frames.

The entrance tube is clear again.

I gave the bees some sugar feedwhich they eagerly consumed and I thought all would be well. I went away over the long holiday weekend and returned to discover that the bees were sluggish and a handful had died. Obviously the nectar flow had dried up completely and the sugar feed hadn’t been enough, so I hurriedly gave them more and they rapidly returned to a healthy buzzing state.

Then yesterday as the day warmed up, the bees started to roar and that roar increased as the day grew warmer. I noticed that they were racing around the hive, but that none were leaving or entering via the tube. Obviously it was blocked! The dead bees they had been removing had become stuck in the bend of the tube and blocked it!

So it was time to empty and clean the observation hive once again (performed with rather more skill having learned from the  previous attempt, I might add!).

The bees recovered quickly and all is well again, but I have learnt a very sharp lesson: in a colony as small as in an observation hive, the food supply can change with remarkable speed.

Turlough, Vita’s Guest Beekeeper Blogger

 

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