Sunday, 18 September 2016


A couple of days ago I executed some seasonal beekeeping manoeuvers.

I performed a final sugar shake mite count sampling for the year on both hives and was satisfied that mite levels were low enough to forego treatment until next Spring. Also, I had to unstack the boxes from each hive to replace the summer's screened bottom boards with solid, winter ones. The empty vent boxes under the roofs were replaced with ones filled with insulating and moisture wicking wood shavings. By early November I'll envelope each hive in a winter wrap.

Each colony now contains about 50,000 honey bees. During the necessary invasion of their domicile, the usual content and peaceful hum turned into angry bee buzzing war cries. Nothing perturbing to a bee keeper clad in good old protective gear.

Some hive box disarray during my beehive winter preparations.

Not recommended without a protective beekeeping suit and veil.

This year's queen is painted with a white dot. She tooted her hunting horn for me.

But the interesting event (and the reason for the quirky title on this post) is that after I had smoked one of the boxes to encourage the bees to go from the top of the frames into the depths of them and avoid being accidentally crushed during box restacked was what I heard. The unmistakable sound of the queen tooting! I've heard some beekeepers refer to this queen call as 'quacking' but it reminds me very much of a distant call from a fox hunting horn.

Huntsman John Tabachka demonstrates the calls on the fox hunting horn in the following video.


  1. Oh, yes! I remember there is much to do for your bee-yootiful friends! Good work. I love the tooting!

  2. And unless I had bee hives, would have no idea of the winter preparations. So glad you had the protective suit on!!! The queen, a grand size and worthy of her royal title. Good title for today, and the Tally Ho when the hounds are on the run, it always gives me shivers as I realise they will be chasing an innocent rabbit or hare.

    1. I know what you mean by getting the shivers! Blood sports are abominable!

  3. Very interesting...I don't go into my brood nest boxes at it's nice to see yours.

  4. Of course I had to look this up and found interesting videos of the queen tooting...amazing and I have never heard of this. Nature astounds me sometimes! But so happy your hives are thriving; thought of you when I saw all the honey at the fall fair.


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