Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

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Caleb Fuller
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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Caleb Fuller » Sat May 26, 2018 3:05 pm

Hi,

Just letting you all know I picked up my hive, complete with new swarm, last Thursday night. So I'm officially a bee-keeper! 8-)

They did have a tendency to want to re-swarm, so the supplier has attached a queen guard to the entrance. Good thing too - on Friday morning they did try to swarm once, but upon realizing the queen was not following, all went back in quick smart!

Today seems to be going well - no swarming, bees are coming and going, and several are coming back loaded with pollen, so I assume there is brood being laid, and that is to feed them.

So far they have only one box, which is all the supplier wanted to start with. I suspect their tendency to swarm was because this is a little small... Once they have settled and I remove the queen guard, I'll try adding the second box.

I'll try to post some photos soon.

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sun May 27, 2018 5:42 am

Awwww man I'm totes jelly right now :lol:

That's a really good idea with the queen guard, is that something the beekeeper made himself or can you buy them ? What an absolute lifesaver. Given your carpentry skills will you make up the extra boxes yourself ?

Can't wait to see some pictures.

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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Caleb Fuller » Sun May 27, 2018 12:49 pm

Its something he bought - basically a little cage that goes over the entrance, with bars that workers can fit through, but not drones or queens.

I have two boxes currently, but only one actually on the hive. I will make up more myself - at least another two.

I noticed yesterday afternoon the workers were actually kicking out some drones. They were desperately trying to push and pull them through the bars. Three were already dead, so I helped flick them out with a thin tool. I hope that this drone expulsion signals the end of their desire to swarm.

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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka » Mon May 28, 2018 5:41 am

Interesting behaviour, I know A. Mellifera expel drones in the autumn as they are preparing for winter but have no idea how A. Cerana behave towards them so this is an interesting learning experience.

Best of luck

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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Caleb Fuller » Thu May 31, 2018 5:10 pm

Hi,

This morning I nadired the second box under the Warré hive. Not having done this before, I was a bit unsure of what to expect, so I did wear a veil, long sleeves, and took a smoker with me, just in case. Fortunately, everything went so smoothly and quickly that the bees barely knew anything had happened. Minimal intervention beekeeping indeed! I could have got away with shorts and a T-shirt... Once on, a few drones did fly out and sort of scout around the hive a bit before returning. I also noticed some of the bees returning with pollen seemed a bit confused at first - they'd wander in, look around, wander back out, maybe even fly back around the entrance again, like they were double checking they were in the right place, before finally entering. After some time they settled back down and carried on as usual.

As promised, here are some pictures:
beehive 1.jpg
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The hive in the orchard.

beehive 3.jpg
beehive 3.jpg (69.84 KiB) Viewed 162 times
Bees gathering at the entrance. You can see the blurred wings of the fan bees if you look carefully.

beehive 4.jpg
beehive 4.jpg (97.16 KiB) Viewed 162 times
View of the back of the hive, looking into the orchard from the kitchen garden, over the rhubarb bed.

beehive 2.jpg
beehive 2.jpg (88.73 KiB) Viewed 162 times
Another view of the front, just for good measure.

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:56 am

That looks great man, lovely bit of carpentry there and it looks like your bees have settled in nicely.

Don't know what suzumebachi are like in your area but if they become a problem you can fit a guard over the entrance like this.



Looks pretty simple to make up and stops them from being able to get into the hive.

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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by korekaranoka » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:42 am

Hi guys!

Just come across this thread and couldn't resist jumping in!

I've currently got two traditional - yamamitsuya to be precise - Japanese hives with bees in them, and a third waiting for a swarm.

I'm quite high up in the hills/mountains of Nagano (1000m altitiude) so this may not apply to everyone, but here's what I did.

1. left the hives (actual hives, don't see the point in the "waiting boxes:" if you know where you want to put your hives, put them there! and if you're trying to bring bees from somewhere where you're not and the bees are to somewhere you are and the bees aren't, well there's probably a reason...) outside for one year to season, i.e. get rid of the smell of sugi and dry out.
2. smeared a little honey inside (just what I had kicking around: happened to be the dregs in a bottle of organic hawaiian honey I was given as a souvenir...), no pheromones, no beeswax, and taped up the joints between the different layers (to keep light out - bees don't like light in their hive - and, apparently to stop the smell of honey attracting suzumebachi).
3. set them up in a suitable location. According to what I read, this was under a persimmon tree at the back of a south facing former tanbo at the top of my farm: in other words, under a deciduous tree (shade in summer, good sun exposure in winter), high up with a good view and unobstructed access.
4. set them up on concrete blocks - maybe 30cm off the ground.
5. lashed the hive down with some cord and some steel anchors.
6. covered the top with an old sheet of corrugated steel, holding it down with a big rock I picked up off the ground.
7. sat back and watched: within less than two weeks I had a swarm.

The book I have been using is this: 我が家にミツバチがやって来た―ゼロから始めるニホンミツバチ養蜂家への道

It's full of black and white photos and gives measurements for the author's preferred style of hive - the one I have, a traditional 重箱: four levels, 300mm x 300mm x 125mm each, 25mm wall thickness.

Some things that struck me as important:

- Keep your hives well away from tanbo and most fields: I deliberately chose my fields where they are to be away from pesticides, but only since getting bees did I realise how bad the situation is. A friend who had a hive just a kilometre away down the valley only ever had two or three bees and he found them dead with their tongues hanging out - apparently a sign of pesticide poisoning.
- Set the hives up high, with unobstructed access, under a deciduous tree. The two of my three hives that were successful are both in similar locations: set up high, under deciduous trees, facing south
- Tie them down! You don't want your hive falling over in the first strong wind! Or indeed toppling over when it's full and heavy!

Here's the URL for the box maker: http://yamamitsuya.com/

Here are some photos:

The first hive when I set it out in late winter/early spring:

Same hive, same place just a week or two later:

Bees busy about two weeks ago:

Right now, both occupied hives are pretty full: both the four level hive in the photos above and the three level (sometimes it is recommended to not add all levels all at once, at the beginning, so that the bees do not have as far to go to the inside top to start constructing, although this was obviousloy not necessary as both swarms seem very healthy) hive not shown are full right down to entrance level so I will have to take off the top level, remove the honey and replace the empty box lower down to give the bees some more room very soon.

Will try to share some more soon.

Sorry about the links to Instagram but I can't seem to load photos directly into the text: can you help, Zasso Nouka?

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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Zasso Nouka » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:44 am

As I've said on Instagram I'm totes Jelly, we're still not seeing any honeybees at all around our area which is more than a little perplexing. In previous years we've seen bees visiting flowers and occasionally seen swarms flying over in the spring but this year nothing. Huge numbers of bumblebees and solitary ones but no honeybees :( so would love to see more of everyone else's bees.
korekaranoka wrote:Sorry about the links to Instagram but I can't seem to load photos directly into the text: can you help, Zasso Nouka?
You've got a couple of choices here. Either you can upload directly if the photo is under 102.4kb, drag and drop it into a post or click on the 'Add Files' button under the 'Attachments' tab. Or if your picture is larger than that then you can use a hosting site like Tinypic.com, Photobucket or whatever your favourite site is and paste a link between the 'img' quotes.

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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Funasshi » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:53 am

By the way, do you know if one is required to register keeping bees in Chiba? I have a small forest plot, and I am thinking about putting a couple of hives there, but not sure if there is mandatory paperwork.... :geek:
Also, the plot is in a bigger forest, with lots of trees surrounding it. The closest residential house to it is maybe 300 meters away. Any thoughts on if neighbors will even notice the hive, or if people usually have anything against it? It is after all kind of inaka, and even in worst case if there is someone with bee sting allergy living nearby, they can still be stung by bees without a hive nearby. Plus bees are not aggressive unless you mess with them. Right?
Any advice? :think:

Caleb Fuller
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Re: Adventures in Japanese Bee (Apis Cerana) Keeping

Post by Caleb Fuller » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:24 pm

Funasshi wrote:... do you know if one is required to register keeping bees in Chiba? I have a small forest plot, and I am thinking about putting a couple of hives there, but not sure if there is mandatory paperwork....
I think, technically, you are supposed to register hives. In practice, I don't think anyone cares about hobbyists with a couple of hives. Sure, if you were a professional making a living from hundreds of hives, you might need to do some paperwork... However, I'm pretty sure the "bee inspector" isn't pro-actively driving around looking for unregistered hives to bust!
:ugeek: na na na na nananana
:eek: :naughty: :snooty:
Funasshi wrote:... The closest residential house to it is maybe 300 meters away. Any thoughts on if neighbors will even notice the hive, or if people usually have anything against it? It is after all kind of inaka...
Unlikely they'll even notice. I had an empty hive about 20 metres away from the neighbours border for 2 years, and he didn't notice. Only when I moved it to around 5 metres away after getting bees, did he even think to ask about it. I sold it to him as improving pollination for his pumpkins, but the look on his wife's face when she heard was worth the price of admission in itself. :twisted: