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Our Apiary – We Make More Colonies.

Sunday 19th May

Unfortunately none of the Beginners could make this session but we went ahead with it anyway as hives need looking at at least every 7 days during the swarming season. So there were 2 Trainers and our resident website photographer.

An emerging bee - it bites its way through the capping.

Hive 1: we didn’t look in this one as last week we had left one capped Queen cell so a virgin may have emerged and possibly be on a mating flight.

In Hive 2, (CBPV hive) amazingly we found a Queen looking very much as if she was mated. We were not optimistic this colony would survive having lost large amounts of bees including their Queen. Now, with a newly mated Queen and, with still hopefully enough bees, it may be fine.

In the WBC the Queen is still laying well and still no signs of swarming, although we did see more drone brood. As this looks as if it is going on to be a strong colony, we decided to set up a Nuc with a frame of eggs and frames of pollen, nectar and capped honey with enough bees to cover the frames. We will see next week if they have drawn out a Queen cell. We did have to go through the hive twice to find the Queen, most important if you are taking frames with bees out.

The marked queen - a small dab of white on the thorax.

Hive 3 Last week we saw one open charged queen cell in the middle of the frame so we decided not do an artificial swarm in case it was a supercedure cell. We made the wrong decision as it seemed likely they had swarmed. We could not find the Queen or see eggs but there were plenty of Queen cells, both capped and open. So, with potentially no Queen, we just split the colony into 2 brood boxes and left one open charged cell in each with a super of stores on top. As there were a lot of Queen cells, rather than waste them, we also set up a Nuc.

How many queen Cells can you see?
A charged Queen cell - see the larva at the base of the cell.

So…today if all our manipulations work, we have potentially increased the number of hives to 7. If it doesn’t work, we haven’t lost anything as we can either try again with some frames of eggs or unite the bees back to the parent colony.

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