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Our Apiary – Kevin’s Visit with tea

Sunday 16th June – Inspection by Kevin Pope our ex-Seasonal Bee Inspector and a Picnic Tea.

We gather to inspect the hives.
Getting ready to inspect the hives.

Kevin went through all our colonies and did not find anything untoward so we have a clean bill of health. Not only is it reassuring to have your colonies inspected like this because there may be something you have missed, but it is also a learning curve listening to Kevin who has over 50 years of experience keeping bees and at least 10 as a bee inspector.

Hive 1: From the 2 Queen cells we put in the colony last week, one had emerged and we briefly saw a virgin running along the edge of a frame. We opened the other capped Queen cell and the Queen came out alive but was poorly formed so we disposed of her. They had also drawn out some more Queen cells that were capped so we opened them to find very poor quality larvae. At least they now have a virgin so hopefully she will get mated next week.

Kevin opening the first hive.
Note the headband. Having sweat running into your eyes behind your veil is not nice.

In Hive 2, (CBPV hive) Kevin confirmed that there were no signs of CBPV any more but in his opinion it is unlikely the colony will do much this season. The bees were very ‘runny’ and this is down to genetics in the Queen so potentially we could re-queen.

Getting down and close the bees/
Getting down close to the bees is easier on the back.

Hive 3, 3a and the Nuc.
Hive 3: Last week we found a Queen and eggs so we marked her. She is laying well so this is a success.

Pink pollen
Pollen comes in many different colours.

The Nuc: We didn’t see any eggs or a queen in the Nuc last week but surprise, surprise, today we saw eggs so there had been a virgin there. She more than likely got mated at the beginning of the week as the eggs were recently laid. So we need to keep an eye on this to make sure she is not laying drone brood as that will be a sign she did not get mated properly.

Larvae on Royal jelly
Larvae and eggs on Royal jelly

Hive 3a: One of the Queen cells had emerged and we saw a virgin, again running around quickly. Again we have to hope for good weather next week to enable her to get out on mating flights.

In the WBC we found the Queen and plenty of eggs. Some lovely patches of brood.

In WBC 2 which was the ‘split’, we saw eggs. In a few of the cells there were 2 eggs but this can happen with newly mated Queens, so it is not laying workers. So again we will be monitoring the brood pattern to make sure she is not a drone layer.

All in all a successful afternoon followed by a picnic tea.

And finally refreshments
Tea and cake for us all.


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