Both hives were doing great today. An audience of learner beekeepers were watching and luckily both lots of bees were on their very best behaviour. They didn’t need smoking and a brave beginner inspecting bare handed received no stings.
In the bigger hive, with our new queen Rosemary, they are doing really well at filling out the super and it’s very heavy now. We might need to put another super on at some point this month. Rosemary and plenty of brood were spotted. Some of the beginners hadn’t seen drones or a queen before so it was nice to be able to show them the difference.
I noticed that the little bee on her back below was very weak. Her fuzziness gave her away as a young bee and she was noticeably smaller than her sisters. I wondered whether, with so many frames of mouths to feed, the nurse bees were struggling to feed all the brood sufficiently? Or could it be the effect of varroa feeding on her whilst she was a larvae? The two bees next to her nudged her a little and touched their antennae against hers.
To close up the hive we smoked the top of the brood box to get them to go down without squashing the ladies, and also used a wedge (door stop shaped) to lever the super down gently. Once the super is in place, the wedge can be slowly pulled out. This week we used sawdust and lavender buds in the smoker, and the smoke seemed to be easier on our eyes as a result, and hopefully easier on the bees’ eyes too. Aromatherapy for bees!
These flying bees belong to Albert. Their queen came from New Zealand last year. Their distinctive golden yellow colour and energetic flying makes them stand out in the apiary.
On to Rose’s hive. Rose is Rosemary’s mum. We did an artificial swarm to split Rose’s hive into two a couple of months ago, when the queen cell containing Rosemary was spotted. Rose is now in the smaller of the two hives. Her hive is doing well – once they’ve filled out a couple more frames we could probably put a super on.
Here you can see the brave beginner inspecting bare handed, trying his best to find eggs. Eventually he spotted them by holding the frame up to the light. It’s darker under the apiary trees than it looks in the photos.
Some Ealing association beekeepers are taking their Basic Beekeeping exam on Wednesday, good luck everyone!