Another Day and Another Colony of Bees

Fortunately, the day after discovering we had queen cells in one of our new bee hives we had a meeting of the Aberystwyth Beekeepers Association. We therefore turned up at the meeting, along with my iPad loaded with a photo of the queen cells so that we could get some advice and opinions from other more experienced beekeepers.

Queen Cells

Queen Cells

Now, they say if you ask 10 different beekeepers the same question you’ll get 11 different answers, and this certainly seemed to be the case. Some people thought they were swarm cells, some thought they were supersedure cells, some people said to destroy them, other said do nothing and let the supersedure happen. Other options were to move them into a nuc box and split the colony into two, others were even talking about creating a nuc from it and selling it!

And so the plans started. Plan ‘A’ to do nothing and let the supersedure happen was soon discarded just in case they were swarm cells. Plan ‘B’ to move them into a nuc box was a likely candidate for a while but once we’d left some other members continued to discuss the issue and later that evening we received a phonecall to say that this probably wasn’t the best option anymore as it would result in two weakened ccolonies. Plan ‘C’ was to get a new mated queen from Jim who had supplied us with the nuc and replace the queen. This was soon changed to yet another plan which was for Jim to bring us a new nuc and simply exchange them.

This was the plan we went with in the end. As Jim pointed out, he could then deal with the ‘problem’ and let us get on with enjoying our bees rather than having to worry about it at such an early stage. To be honest, as someone who rears queens and sells nucs, I think Jim could see potential in our colony and it’s queen cells. With his greater experience, lots of other colonies to draw from and plenty of equipment he will probably create a few nucs from that one colony.

Busy Bees in Clettwr

Busy Bees in Clettwr

This was fine with us though as for the time being we just want the bees to build in strength and number and collect enough stores to get them through the winter. So, last night Jim arrived with a 6 frame nuc. There seemed to be loads more bees in this one and we saw the queen (marked blue) as we swapped the two colonies over. Only time will tell how they get on out here in the coastal wilds of West Wales, but the colony looked stronger than the one it was replacing and with an extra frame, plus a frame of stores from the old colony, they should hopefully have a good start in life.

We just hope they like it here.

In the meantime, despite the rather autumnal weather the other hive, Clettwr, has been business as usual and in a slight break in the weather it seemed quite busy yesterday. No doubt the bees were making the most of the sunshine while they could.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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