I am new to beekeeping this year, and since we are just under 1 month away from the Autumn equinox I’m pondering a few questions that perhaps more experienced beekeepers would be kind enough to answer:
Two of my flow-frames are completely full. Of the uncapped flow-frames two are 75% full, and two are roughly 10% full. The hive is absolutely packed with bees and there is a lot of activity filling the part-filled cells. So all good
We are in a mild climate in the Northern hemisphere – on average we get maybe half a dozen mild frosts per year, and a sprinkling of snow once every 4 or 5 years. Having said that the hive is currently in a site very exposed to South Westerly wind, so in mid/late October it is my intention to over-Winter the hive in a walled garden 3 miles away.
When the time comes do I extract ALL of the honey in the super flow-frames ?, and do I remove the super so simply leaving the brood box for over Winter ? In preparing to remove the super do I use an escape device eg Rhombus escape, to ensure as many of the bees as possible remain in the brood box, and as few as possible remain in the super ? Is the Rhombus escape the best device for a Flowhive Classic ?
On the issue of Autumn feeding, and having researched various books etc., the consensus would seem to suggest the colony needs 15-30Kg (33-66kbs) of feed. Am I correct in assuming that when they say feed, they mean syrup ? or candy ? or a combination of both ? And is this in addition to any honey that may be in the brood box ?
When I first got the flowhive I used a frame feeder, which worked very well, but does of course require the queen board to be removed, thus in Winter refilling the frame feeder would lead to significant heat-loss. I also purchased a top-feeder which is smaller, and required a spacer in order to fit under the flowhive roof. Your experiences using feeders with flowhives would be gratefully received.
Varroa: A few months ago I spotted a single mite coming from a drone cell on burr comb I’d cut out. The following week I spotted about half a dozen very much smaller mites on the bottom board, so I’ve subsequently been very attentive. But to my surprise I subsequently not seen a single mite on the bottom board ! Am I just lucky, or not very observant and need a new pair of glasses ? And do I apply a preventative treatment ‘just in case’ ?
Wasps: Having spent a few pleasant hours observing the hive I’ve not seen any evidence of robbing or wasps BUT I have spotted a wasps nest in the ground very nearby. Although wasps rate highly in my ‘least liked creatures’ I don’t generally like killing things for the sake of it. Do I make an exception this time ?
As a newbee, I welcome any comments