Hive Inspections – Progress?

We made our weekly hive inspections on Wednesday afternoon and there was some progress.

Huddles of bees on Clettwr

Huddles of bees on Clettwr

The bees are still acting a little strangely though. Both the colony in the Clettwr hive and the colony in the triple nuc box (a caught swarm from Clettwr) are very active. They are up and busy from first light until it gets dark and there are always lots of bees crowded around the entrance. If I watch them then I’m sure bees are flying back and forth between the two boxes and there are often little huddles of bees on the landing board of Clettwr that look as though they are fighting. It could be some robbing going on, but we’re not sure.

We started the inspection with the nuc box in which we created an artificial swarm. We only had a quick look in here as we’re waiting for this colony to re-queen itself from a queen cell. There was no sign of her or any eggs yet. Maybe next week?

Entrance to Triple Nuc Box

Entrance to Triple Nuc Box

Next was the caught swarm in the triple nuc box. Despite only being on three frames this looks to be the best colony we have at the moment. We didn’t see the queen this time but they have drawn out all three frames, have two full of stores and the third has eggs and larvae so all is looking good.

Clettwr was looking OK. Again, we are waiting for this colony to re-queen itself. The queen had emerged from her queen cell but there was no sign of her or any eggs yet so we didn’t mess around in here too much.

Leri was looking OK as well. It has plenty of stores but still has some empty frames. There seemed to be quite a few bees and we saw the queen again. This is a new queen (that Morgan wants to call Daisy!), that emerged from a queen cell somewhere around June 20th. She looks really healthy, but as there was no sign of eggs or larvae yet we’re not sure if she’s laying so have yet to mark her. Again, it looks promising in this hive and hopefully next week there will be some signs of new brood on the way.

All in all a fairly straight forward inspection with little for us to do other than wait. The bees were all very docile as well. We did stuff some grass into the entrance of Clettwr just in case it was being robbed by the swarm in the triple nuc box. The grass restricts the entrance a little making it easier for the colony to defend it. At least there were no signs of swarming in any of the colonies which is a good thing!

Inspecting a Frame

Inspecting a Frame

We’ve also ordered a new hive that should be arriving anytime now. When it does we shall re-house the colony in the triple nuc box into it to give them more room and so that we can return the triple nuc box to Ann.

So much for staring with two small nucs so that our first year was easy with nothing to do other than add supers! So far we’ve had one swarm that got away, two swarms that I’ve caught and re-housed, we’ve performed an artificial swarm, are re-queening 3 colonies and now seem to be trying to deal with some robbing. It’s all very interesting, but it would now be nice to see them start to settle down and build up reserves ready for the winter.

The weather is looking perfect for bees for the next few days, the flowers are looking lovely in the garden too so hopefully they’ll have a productive week with plenty of foraging and all four colonies will start to increase their stores and their numbers.

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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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