Will we get some Honey?
Time for a beekeeping update from out apiaries, and after a week of decent weather things in our home apiary are looking up. Unfortunately though last time we looked at the bees in our out apiary things weren’t quite so good.
In the out Apiary, where we thought the bees would thrive, there seem to have been some problems. The hives are infested with ants for a start and it looks as though the bees are infected with Sac Brood. One of the hives in particular had very few bees in it. The queen was still there but she didn’t have much in the way of family with her so it looks as though that colony will have died completely.
The colony in the other hive was also looking quite weak. The queen in here is getting on a bit, it looks as though they have Sac Brood and they don’t seem to be coping at all well. Who knows though, they may have picked up now that the weather has improved, but overall it looks as though the colonies in the out apiary are a lost cause for this year. We’ll leave them to see if they make a comeback, but if not, we’ll discard the wax, disinfect everything and try again next year.
The home apiary is looking much better. The hive that was queenless (Clettwr) now has a new queen in it. We transferred a frame of eggs from another colony on June 12th when we first noticed that it was queenless. The bees had built some emergency queen cells on this frame by June 18th and started raising a new queen. We were still waiting for the queen to hatch on June 25th when we next inspected.
On July 9th I saw what might have been a new queen, but there were no signs of eggs or larvae yet so we assumed she hadn’t yet mated. However, last week, on July 21st, a couple of weeks after first seeing what could have been a new queen, and a whole 6 weeks after putting the frame of eggs into the hive there was still no sign of a queen, no eggs, no larva and the number of bees was dwindling rapidly. Not only that, but the bees were becoming a bit feisty too. We therefore assumed that they had been unsuccesful at rasiing a new queen so once again donated a frame of eggs from another hive. This was going to be their last chance.
However, during our inspection yesterday, just a week later, there weren’t any emergency queen cells on the donated frame and better still, we saw some new eggs on other frames and spotted and marked a new queen. A new queen has arisen and all looks good at the moment.
The next hive was looking good. Not only were there more bees in Leri and lots of eggs and larvae but they also had quite a bit in the way of stores. In fact, as well as plenty of stores in the brood box they have pretty much filled a whole super with honey. We’ve put another super on and fingers crossed they’ll draw the frames out on this and fill that one too. We might even get some honey off them again this year after all.
The final hive in our home apiary was looking good too. This is a smaller colony created as an artificial swarm earlier in the year, but they have now almost filled out the entire brood box and have started drawing out and filling frames in the super. Again, things are looking good.
Lets hope the weather holds out for another month or so and the bees can continue to be busy. Here are a few photos from the weekends bee inspection.