These girls were a bit tougher to get ready due to their size! They already had a couple of pretty full summer supers on them and we need to get these off and add the heather super. We managed to get one of them removed yesterday and today we removed the 2nd super.


Poppy with all summer supers removed just leaving the Heather super

The final super removed went to Mint (next door on the left) along with one from Apollo. That makes 3 summer supers they have to get processed!


Poppy with her Travel Screen in position over the Heather super.

Mint with her 3 supers of Summer Honey to process

I must admit that I was impressed with the girls in Poppy as they had already started to draw out comb on the new unwired foundation I'd put in yesterday. Nice one girls!


So that's the heather floor in place; Travel Screen in place; just remains to close up the entrance; strap them down and get them loaded up for tomorrow. That'll be my last job today at around 9:30pm.


For colonies to survive whilst out on the North Yorkshire Moors, they need to be as strong as possible - and that means the hive needs to be busting at the seams with bees. The brood box also needs to be full with frames of brood, even if that means adding some frames of brood from another healthy colony. Of 11 frames in the brood box, 10 of them should be brood frames otherwise the bees will not put nectar in the super - they will probably store it in the brood frames.


One trick to boost the colony is to add brood frames from the hive next door, and then move that hive somewhere else in the apiary. This will cause the flying bees to seek the nearest hive and so bolster up the number of bees in that hive. And so you've boosted the brood from a donor colony and also boosted the foragers with flying bees from the same donor colony!


Now it's time to get any supers of regular summer removed from the hive with the use of a Clearer Board to drive the bees down from the super(s). The summer supers that come off can't just be left as they will most likely have unripe honey in them. We just need to add them to another strong colony that can finish them off before we extract the honey in August.


For this, we chose two of our strongest Selby colonies - Apollo and Poppy. Both of these colonies have been given a Heather Floor that helps to protect from nasty draughts blowing through the hive.


Apollo with a summer super and Section Rack over the brood box

Super removed and ready for the Travel Screen

Once the super was removed, the Travel Screen was fitted and we're ready to go! The super went to Mint for them to finish off. Just got the heavy work of loading Apollo into the truck before we start the journey.

Travel Screen fitted instead of the Crownboard to provide maximum ventilation during their journey

That's Apollo all done! Just need the roof popping on and then she's ready for the off! Now just got to get Poppy sorted ...

Updated: Jul 21, 2019

For a change, this year I've decided to try Sections on one of the colonies. They did apparently go out of fashion but are once again making a comeback so I thought we'd give it a go and see how the bees get on with the English Section boxes. These are fiddly things to set up and even then, they won't fit into a normal National super - yes, you have to buy a special one for this! Great :(

So the first job is to get 32 of these boxes assembled and fit the small sheet of foundation into each one. These Section boxes are about 4" square and the bees are supposed to fill both sides with honey. The complete unit is sold to the consumer in a nice fancy outer packing.

An assembled Section box with premium unwired foundation fitted

Having assembled the Section boxes, it's time to assemble the rack (Super) that holds them. This just looks like a deep eke with lats along the bottom to support the Section boxes.

The Section Rack that holds the Section boxes

With the Rack assembled, it's just a simple matter of adding the Section boxes. Each row of boxes is separated from the next row by a white plastic divider. The purpose of this divider is to prevent the bees from extending the comb into the next Section box.

The rack will hold 8 rows of 4 Sections. Two rows are shown below ...

Section boxes in the Section Rack

Now that was a lot of work for just one super!

For my second hive, I decided to use unwired thin foundation. That was much easier and quicker to put together!


Assembling SN1 frames of unwired foundation

And before you ask - the bottle of Corona is an important part of this process! Less that an hour and job done!


The finished super of unwired foundation

Both of these boxes are now ready for adding to the hives we've selected for going to the heather so that the bees can get acclimatised to them and start drawing out comb on the foundation.

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