So this week I was supposed to make up ten frames and take them down to the apiary. What actually happened was that I realised I had everything to make up ten frames except the nails and couldn’t find quite the right nails in the local hardware shops, who don’t appear to sell ‘beekeeper nails’.
So I took the unmade-up frames down to the apiary, where Emma and I had an epic frame making session. Making frames is something I really suck at, but luckily there were lots of skilled carpenters about to watch and shake their heads sorrowfully. John Chapple (the queen’s beekeeper!) gave me some good advice to shave a couple of millimeters off the foundation if it’s too long to fit in the frame. Here he is showing me how it’s done:
John got the foundation in perfectly, something I continued to fail to do with the next nine frames, especially in the 27C heat. You should really do it at home with foundation that’s been in the fridge, but in the hot weather our bees have taken up the whole box this week, so we thought we’d better give them some more space before they got royal weddings on their mind too. In-between making frames there was time to have some cake:
There is a running joke going that the Ealing Association isn’t so much a beekeepers club as a tea and cake drinking club with a spot of mild beekeeping on the side. Whatever the weather, a cup of tea and a bit of something to nibble on is always available.
John Chapple then got the idea to do this with our hive:
Shortly followed by this:
I’m on the left looking nervous, Emma is on the right in the pretty bird top. Don’t try this at home kids. Emma and I didn’t get stung but John did. This must be his idea of taking it easy before his quadruple bypass heart operation later in the week. Hope he’ll be ok.
Later on we went and inspected the bees properly with bee suits and smoker. They are doing fantastically with lots of brood and stores. We didn’t see Queen Rose, as Emma has named her, but she is obviously laying well and the bees seemed happy and mellow post the John stinging incident. On Tuesday our local government bee inspector, Caroline Washington, is visiting the apiary, so I’ll go down to see that. Hopefully she will approve of the hive and our bees will be on their best behaviour.