Ants, Slugs, Late season swarms and some odd looking things…….

Hello All,
Its been over a week since the Black Bees were moved into the TBH and last Sunday I decided to inspect them to get an idea as to how they were adapting to their new territory.

It turned out to be something of a surprise to say the least.

During the week I had been feeding them with Gareth’s patented mixture (Nettles, Lavender, white sugar and organic vitamin ‘C’ in a syrup solution) and they lapped it up. So did the ants and the slugs as it happens. How to deter the slugs and ants was something I had not heard anyone mention during the two meetings I had attended so I decided to try an experiment to stop the ants, which had also decided that the hive appeared to be a nice source of food. The slugs had got into the nucleus hive when I first brought it to the garden so that was also something I wanted to prevent from happening to the TBH.

Enter some copper adhesive backed tape and some good old drafting paper and multi-purpose grease. The idea was simple. Attach a copper band around each leg to stop the slugs and use the home made equivalent of the fruit tree grease band tied around the legs above the copper band to trap the ants. When the ants get trapped the rest avoid the same pathway so it should in theory work.

This view showing top bars and dividers plus a view of one leg with copper tape and a grease band. The others had similar bands on them.

Well so far only one ant has managed to get onto the roof of the hive that I am aware of and no slugs have shown up inside either.

As for the bees themselves they are doing remarkably well. In fact too well.

There are two lugs of comb being built off the bottom due to the extra space below the frames in the TBH.

As you can see there are loads of bees. Far more than I imagined there would be. All very industrious.

There has been plenty of forage around me as indicated by the different coloured pollen in the cells.

They have also created two Queen cells which had not been capped as of late Sunday afternoon and they also seemed to be getting very crowded in on the 5 frames.

Neither of the two cells had been capped as of late Sunday afternoon.

The Queen is marked with yellow on the back.

The Queen has been very active since the transfer to the TBH. There is also an arc of comb being built on the bottom of this frame.

There had been no attempt to start building comb on the adjacent top bars which were at a right angle to the 5 frames.

These frames were placed at right angles in the TBH to avoid destroying them by cropping and chopping. The gaps on either side are as a result of the shape of the body of the hive.

My suspicion is that they have literally built themselves out of space and were possibly in the process of preparing to swarm, hence the Queen cells.

The last few days have been really dry and hot so maybe they will try. Not something I actually want at this time.
As a means to preventing them swarming (if it was an issue of space which they had loads of if they would only use the other top bars) I placed two top bars parallel to the frames to give them somewhere extra to expand to.

The two extra bars are more of an encouragement for the bees to start building extra comb. There is also a plywood sheet that covers the frames and isolates them from the roof void.

I am now keeping my fingers crossed that they start to expand their comb building.

Then there were these odd looking things in the bottom of the hive. I have absolutely no idea what they are and there are loads of them in heaps under the 5 original frames. They look like dried up woodlice but they are very solid and woodlice never end up looking like this. If you double left click on the picture the picture will enlarge. If you then click with the left mouse button again it will magnify the bits even more.

One thing that did occur to me was that they could possibly be dead brood contents or a by product of that process. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. If only to put my mind at rest.

These were found below the brood frames. I have no idea what they are but there are loads of them on the mesh flooring.

I hope that the bees don’t swarm but of course its not really up to me in the end. I will post more when it becomes known.

PS These bees have been the best behaved and most placid bees I could have wished for. In fact I have been sat in front of the hive without a veil on watching them without so much as an angry buzz out of them.

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3 Responses to Ants, Slugs, Late season swarms and some odd looking things…….

  1. itsonlyausername says:

    I think I know what the objects are from the hive. Pollen flowers from pine trees. There are a number of Blue Spruce in my garden plus Scots pines too. These have that shape and size about them.

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  2. simplebees says:

    As regards the things in the hive, have a look at the photos here: http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12957

    Gareth, West Oxfordshire

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  3. itsonlyausername says:

    It would seem like I have a problem. I did have a problem with the temperature because of too much open space for the bees to heat. I solved it by inserting two boards on bars alongside the combs. This reduced the void and the temperature increased almost immediately. I also moved a dividing board closer to the end of the frames leaving only one additional top-bar for expansion of the colony.
    Now I need to know if I should remove the remains of the problem or would this cause more trouble?
    Is there anything else that I should do? I have read up on this problem and it would appear that there is nothing treatment wise that I can do.
    All suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

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