What's been happening at the club in 2014.

Photos by Nick Thorp.

Other years


Checking the hive today and discussing on what to do with drone comb and drone layers

lots of drone comb can waste hive energy by rearing bees that dont work
This frame has been damaged in the past and the workers have repaired it by making drone comb, an easy fix is to move it to the outermost position in the brood box so the workers will fill it with honey, rather than raising more drones.

when a frame is too small or has too much bee space they will build rogue comb underneath it
Rogue comb being built on the bottom of a frame thats too small (providing a bee space thats too big) Ideally the bee space should be 6mm, checking boxes and frames in the assembly phase can alleviate a lot of problems later on.

a drone layer, either laying worker or queen will cause lots of problems
Here is a specimen Graeme brought along for everyone to see. A drone laying queen, or a laying worker will cause lots of problems The only practical way to "fix" it is to add a strong nuc on the top of the hive. Requeening will fail as the hive will have, or think they have, a queen and will kill a new cell. Laying workers put eggs on the cell sides as their abdomens are not long enough to reach the bottom. Notice multiple eggs and grubs in each cell, obvious problems arise during larvae development.


Today the club hives were checked for swarm cells, general hive health and Graeme also discussed queen grafting.

opening the hive and looking under the top box for swarm cells
Checking the bottom bars for swarm cells.

there is quite a big patch of drone brood in the middle of the brood frame
High numbers of drone cells can indicate a desire to swarm.

two small queen cups with nothing in them 
Two queen cups without anything in them, at this time of year its safer to break them down.

big healthy queen raised last autumn
The Queen that was placed in the hive last autumn, going strong with egg laying

Patchy brood pattern from an old queen
Patchy brood from the old queen in the top box of the double hive.

an egg, c shaped grub and a good larvae for grafting
An egg, lower left. A "c" shaped larvae in the centre and a larvae perfect for grafting, slightly up and right of centre.

Practising using teh chinese grafting tool
Practicing using a grafting tool.

A grub thats slightly too large on teh end of a grafting tool, with royal jelly
A grub thats a little too big for the ideal graft, on the end of a grafting tool.

hive made queen cell with grub in royal jelly
 A hive made queen cell, with its new queen-to-be grub, or not to be in this case, in royal jelly

The club members grouped round teh deck of Graeme's ute
Wrapping up the day and having a quick look at the queen cell transporter.

Thanks to everyone who came along today, great to see so many new faces.

July construction day.

Olly and Nick opened up their workshops for members to come and assemble or make woodware, quite a successful day recycling pallets into hive components.

nick and darren in the workshop
Nicks messy workshop, still quite productive though.

assembling frames on the workbench
Putting frames together for the boxes already assembled.

June honey tasting day.

By all accounts the day went well, quite a few people braved the cold and came to Olly's place to share recipes and their favorite honey of the season. Sorry no photo's guys.

May 2014 Hive Day at Allan's place.

removing insulation under top bar hive lid

Allan removing the insulation layer from under the hive lid

using a long flexable knife as a hive tool
After removing the spacer which stops the hive getting totally packed, we could see inside.

inspection of the parabolic brood comb
Allan inspects the condition of the brood and food stores.

people around hive without suits well tempered bees
The first hive we looked at was nice and docile, notice the frame standing on bricks to allow more room for working the hive.

people without suits spread away angry bees
But not the second, they got quite upset and most people viewed from a distance.

close up of angry bees surrounding suited beekeepers
All a buzz
Thanks to all those who came round on this lovely Autumn day, and to Allan for being the host.

April 2014 Hive Day

paracitic mite sysdrome PMS
A healthy bee (upper right) and one suffering PMS (parasitic mite syndrome) centre left.
Notice the wings are deformed due to Verroa feeding on it before the bee emerged.

incorrect use of apivar tag to hold strip
Try not to use the tag on Apivar to secure the strips, the strips bend against the comb and don't give the full surface area for treatment.
Use something like a cut down kebab skewer or long match stick (with the head cut off) through the hole in the top so they hang properly.

apivar hanging through queen excluder

An alternative method for securing the Apivar strips for the box directly below the queen excluder.

feeding sugar syrup to top up winter stored
Topping up the club hive's winter supplies with sugar syrup

club members hanging round in their bee suits
They talk about "The Robot" dance, I think we might be well on our way to "The Beekeeper" with these poses.
Thanks to all for coming along despite the poor weather

March 2014 Hive Day

uniform brood pattern with honey on the outside
A nice uniform brood pattern, the new queen is getting going.

hatched queen cell with protective tube   plastic queen cup and protective tube seperated 
The grafted queen cell in the frame with protective tube, notice how the bees have chewed the wax around it. The queen cell separated from the protective tube.

natural queen cup
A queen cup the bees have made.

time to treat for verroa with strips
Wearing protective gloves to handle Bayvarol strips for Verroa treatment,
ensuring it is places where the brood is situated

February 2014 Hive Day

graeme and club hive with members suited up
First meeting of the new year and an introduction to the club hive.

looking inside the brood box and explaining whats happening
Looking inside the brood box to check on the swarms growth over the summer break.

graeme and a club member getting a good look insite the hive
Going head to head with inspections, sometimes its a bit hard to see whats happening.

verroa mite on a drone larvae
Verroa mite present on a drone larvae.
A good all in all, the swarms seem to be coming along well.

Website © North Canterbury Beekeepers Club 2014
Images © of the respective photographers