14 June 2006 - The set up
28 June 2006 - The swarm catching - CLICK HERE
1 August 2006 - 1st Rains but no colony ...yet - CLICK HERE
25 October 2006 - We have 2nd & 3rd rain and a Colony - CLICK HERE
July 2007 - Fatal incident with veld fire on smallholding & the 2 Jackson hives burn to ashes
End of September - we will begin the Spring Experiment again!
Welcome To the JHH Logbook - October
The Jackson hive is based on the top bar hive design however it has some unique modifications.
Last Sunday I held my monthly beginner beekeeper's course and aside from the theory we spent 1h30m in the field at the smallholding. I had removed an empty TV box from Rooihuis Kraal (Centurion area) where bees had moved into about 3 weeks prior. They were very laid back and calm bees. A good colony to keep and split int he near future.
So, after the theory, we fired up the smoker, suited up and prepared to work with the bees. We found that the bees in the cardboard box were quite resourceful. They built the comb on the inside of the box under one of the inside flaps. When it rained during the week before the course, the comb was actually still well preserved and the colony had survived.
We opened the bee box and proceeded to puff smoke into the box. After a few minutes of waiting and eagerly checking what state the colony was in I opened the cardboard box. Beautiful. Seven newly built comb next to each other and a fair-sized swarm. They were very calm after using the smoke. Working with them on a steady basis with smooth movements and thinking each step through before acting on it made this transfer a pleasure.
I had two trap boxes prepared before we started the transfer. One is a half Langstroth hive and the other is a Jackson hive trap box. We split the comb we took from the swarm colony between the two trap boxes. I ensured that we place comb with young eggs in both trap boxes in the reality that only one or none may end up having a queen. The colony would then create an emergency queen from the young eggs.
Queen cells will be present after 3-4 days in the case of no queen. Sixteen days after this procedure the first queen bee will emerge and kill the others. She then goes on her mating flight three days later when her wings and mating organs are mature. By the 23rd day there should be evidence of the queen bee laying eggs.
After having transferred this swarm colony, I decided to open the Jackson hive to see what was happening with it and I am happy to report that there is a resident colony in it! They are using the front entrance which is a 80% cut along the short end of one side. They have built on 4 of the frames so far and had started to build bur comb - comb not on a frame - where I had not placed any frames.
I had only placed 5 frames in the box when I first started the JHH logbook. I didn't have any wax foundation sheets at the time and so I left the rest of the frames indoors. I forgot that I had not placed the frames back into the JHH with starter strips. So thankfully there was not much of it and it was quick to clean up.
We smoked the front entrance of the JHH and the bees reacted at first. After a few minutes we opened the lid and "Voila!" 4 frames packed with comb. Bees inside the JHH but on the outer frame reacted as we opened the lid and I sent two puffs of smoke towards this exposed side of the outer frame. To my surprise the bees moved straight away to the adjascent frame and left the cavity of the 'back' of the JHH all to us. It was a pelasure. No hassles with hundreds of bees being exposed and then darting for you.
I quickly moved the bricks under the box to the bracketed corners so that when the box is full of honey the support is where it should be - under the brackets. I placed the other 20 JH frames back in with the help of the course delegates. Bees huddled at the front entrance but not to the extent that I have seen Langstroth hive colonies. Usually Langstroth colonies gather together on the outside wall of the brood box on either side. Not with the JHH.
I would recommend any beginner beekeeper to incorporate a Jackson Horizontal hive in their starter kit as well as a Langstroth hive so that a comparison of the two can be made. Most beekeepers are led to believe that the Langstroth is the only way to go. I'm definitely testamony against that.
I will be keeping a close eye on the hive now as I am particularly interested in the honey harvest results. I expect to be able to harvest from the Jackson hive in about 6 weeks time. This will mean 25 frames will be full and about 10 of these will include full frames with honeycomb to be harvested. Bear in mind though, that all Jackson bee hive frames are full frames and therefore will hold about 4Kg of honey per frame compared to the super frames in a Langstroth which may hold up to 3Kg but usually more like 2Kg.
Did you know that the average harvest per bee hive in South Africa has declined by more than 50% over the last 30 years? In the seventies, honey harvests were recorded at 32Kg on average. Now, one can expect an average of only 15Kg per harvest.
This is the JHH site for the logbook experiment.
Be sure to check the next insert.
Next, I will be commenting on the further ease of use or otherwise using the JHH as well as the productivity of the colony over a 6 week period. I will also present photos.
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