Hands on beekeeping



For the last session of the beginners beekeeping course we’ve been doing with the Aberystwyth Bee Keeping Association (ABKA) we had a hands on hive inspection at Ann’s Aipary.

Alan was off doing the Dyfi Enduro so Morgan and I went without him. It was really windy at our house and our new nuc of bees which arrived a couple of days before we’re not happy about the wind at all so I wondered what the bees at Ann’s would be like. We noticed the difference in weather as soon as we got out of the car although some of the other beekeepers were saying it was quite windy so the bees might not be out flying as much as usual. Believe me, compared to our house there was no wind at all!

Full Brood Box

Full Brood Box

We soon suited up and got into out first hive with Lynfa showing us the ropes. Morgan is super keen and more than happy to be holding frames full of bees searching out the queen. I’m still a bit more cautious and happy to let some of the others have a go. I’m sure as I get used to handling our own bees I’ll get more confident. We didn’t spot the queen in the first hive we looked through although we did see eggs so were happy that she was there somewhere. Morgan got a bit hot in his suit so went to sit in the shade for a bit while we messed about with supers and brood boxes, then he joined us to look through another hive with his camera to get some action shots!

Hive Inspection

Hive Inspection

Again we didn’t spot the queen so had a good look for eggs. We couldn’t find any which was a little concerning and tends to indicate the queen had gone which isn’t good news for the colony, especially if there aren’t eggs for the bees to make a new queen from. Lynfa said the bees would usually be quite agressive if they didn’t have a queen which certainly wasn’t the case, but since we couldn’t spot her and there were no eggs we decided to put a frame from another hive into the brood box so that a new queen could be reared if the queen was indeed missing. Ann didn’t really belive the queen had gone but ony time would tell.



Then it was time for tea and cake and that was it for the beginners course. We’ve certainly found the whole course really useful. The sessions have been very interesting and it’s been nice to meet other beginners and experienced members of the association during the course. Only time will tell how we get on as bee keepers but we’ve had a good start and the ABKA have arranged for us to have a mentor to keep in touch with should we have any bee related concerns while we get to grips with things.

1 Response

  1. Anna says:

    A few days after the inspection Ann got in touch about the queenless colony:

    Thought you might like an update on that colony where no queen , eggs or queen cells were found Remember Lynfa said it was queen less and I was rather skeptical, well we were both right!!!
    I looked at the colony today again and they were not aggressive (as they would be if no queen) but they had done nothing with the frame of eggs,then half way looking through them it occurred to me that maybe she was above the excluder and happily laying up in the supers, Sure enough the centre frames were covered in sealed brood and I found her, so she is now back down where she should be
    So all is well.

    Excellent news Ann – I can’t remember why we didn’t look in the supers! And I did think they were very calm for a queenless colony.

    I’m glad it’s a good outcome


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Anna Cole

Anna is an Administrator at Aberystwyth University. Originally from the Isle of Man she now lives a Simple Life of Luxury on the Mid Wales Coast.

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