I probably can’t really blame this on my recent heart attack but I may as well. Having been out of action for a few weeks I haven’t been able to inspect the bees properly. Typically this was during peak swarm season and sure enough the bees made the most of it.
I did manage to rope Morgan into helping me inspect them yesterday. It was a lovely sunny, windless day so perfect for such activities. A little warm in our bee suits of course.
I had split a colony before going into hospital so had a split to check on. The good news was that there were still bees in both of the hives. The half with the queen cells was looking OK but there were no signs of a laying queen. I haven’t given up hope on this one yet though as there is still time for her to mate and start laying.
The half with the original queen wasn’t looking so good. The hive didn’t have many bees left in it and the queen seems to have swarmed anyway. Not only has she gone AWOL but she has done so without leaving a queen cell or even any eggs. This half of the split is therefore a lost cause. I think we’ll merge it with a queen right colony when we have chance to do so.
A Caught Swarm
There was a swarm in a tree while I was in hospital so that one got away. I did however manage to catch a swarm a few days after getting home. I’d rehoused it in a hive in the apiary.
Once again, the good news is that the bees have remained in the hive. That I’m itself is a success. However, rather than using the nice frames full of foundation in the brood box, they have decided to build free-form comb from the roof instead. This meant that I couldn’t really inspect them. So, although they had loads of nice fresh white comb I’m not sure if there’s a laying queen in there or not. I guess it’s a case of leaving them to it for now.
The fourth hive in the apiary had a nice big colony in it that had yet to swarm. However it now has quite a few sealed queen cells in it and I think it has probably swarmed now. We didn’t see the queen anyway and there was one queen that was in the process of emerging from her queen cell. Again, there wasn’t a huge amount we could do about this other than leave them to it and hope it requeens successfully. It did have quite a bit of honey in the super though which may be a good thing.
I might have been able to split this colony had I been able to inspect it earlier. However, we don’t necessarily have the equipment or room to have done so. If it re-queens and builds up in time for winter then we won’t have lost anything. If the bees produce more honey we may even get a crop from it. I have a feeling that re-queening and over-wintering might be something of a challenge this year though.
Oh well, such is life in the Ynyslas Apiary.