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Our Apiary – Beginners begin

Sunday 14th April:
We held our first session with the Beginners last weekend. It was touch and go as to whether we would open the hives, the temperature was 13° and it was overcast. However the apiary is out of the wind so we took the chance. The bees were fine and remarkably good-tempered.

The Beginners start by opening the hives, handling the frames and seeing what is going on.
Looking for eggs is important. It does sometimes mean taking a frame away from the hive and positioning it to get it in the right light to see them. If you are doing this it is better to shake the bees off first.
All the beginners there today managed to see eggs which is a major milestone in beekeeping. If you see eggs you don’t necessarily need to see the Queen.

Unfortunately we found one hive has signs of Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus. The signs are black, hairless bees, and bees shaking on the frames as well as a quantity of dead bees around the hive.

However, the Queen was there and laying well. The floor was removed so the infected bees drop straight down. There is no treatment so this is really the only thing you can do in this situation. Hopefully, having caught it early, the colony will recover.

For the next couple of weeks we will inspect this colony last to make sure, as much as possible, we don’t spread it around the rest of the apiary.

The hive that survived the winter was the best colony, a good lot of brood in a good pattern with plenty of bees. The other two hives are smaller but building up well.

They all had enough stores but we left some insulation on the smaller hives as there is a forecast of colder weather next week.

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