Lavender on the loose

Our first inspection of Lavender’s hive since last autumn…
Hive inspecting (Lavender's hive)

Doing well! So much better than Rosemary’s hive, with plenty of eggs and full frames of evenly laid, biscuit colour, worker brood. Below is an empty drawn out frame with some honey stores towards the bottom. The comb is darker in the centre so probably had brood in last summer.

We had gone all the way through the hive and started the Bailey comb exchange, but seen no Lavender. We assumed she was hiding at the bottom of the hive. Then one of the beginner beekeepers with us, Rosemary, pointed her out on the crownboard we’d taken off to inspect. We had given the underside of the crownboard a quick check for her when we took it off – as John and Andy have drummed into us to do – but obviously missed her as her white dot had nearly worn off. We got such a shock! It just shows why placing the crownboard over the upturned roof while you inspect, rather than propping it up against the hive where the queen could drop off, is such a good idea. Thank you Rosemary for spotting our queen!

Below you can see Lavender perched happily on Emma’s hand. I know I’m biased but isn’t she a beauty? A lovely long dark queen. It looks like one of her attendants is feeding her.

Queen Lavender perched on Emma's finger

The next drama was that one of the other ladies with us, Sarah, got a bee up her trousers. She got it out but I think sadly got stung in the process, ouch. Hope she’s doing okay and the sting’s gone down by now.

Emma has done a great blog post with more photos from the day:

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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25 Responses to Lavender on the loose

  1. pixilated2 says:

    Long live Queen Lavender! ~ Lynda


  2. svengali says:

    You seem to have good luck with finding your queen. I have rarely sighted my queens. As long as there are fresh eggs I don’t feel too stressed.


  3. Ah, I wish I could like this post twice! I think we will get a whole super of honey from Lavender’s hive this year!


  4. Among the kit in the pockets of my beekeeping tool belt is a pair of bicycle clips which I don’t always remember to wear. It is very difficult to maintain concentration when feeling a tickle ascend the leg!


  5. ceciliag says:

    Well if nothing else that is a very good tip about putting the frame on the board, i always prop them .. and will not do that again. i love it when you get into the hives Emily, oh how I would love to have you with me when i am doing my inspections.. did you see my post a few days ago, i went through a few of the hives.. I am heartened to hear you say biscuity colour! all good stuff for me! Thank you.. c


    • Emily Heath says:

      It only matters when you don’t have supers and a queen excluder on, once you do hopefully she won’t manage to get up to the crownboard. It’s not me you would want with you at an inspection, it’s the old beardy beekeepers down at the apiary, people like John and Andy who’ve been doing it 40 years plus and yet are modest with it (they are the queen’s personal beekeepers!).

      I did see your post, fantastic photos as always! Shame about the mouse but your brood looked grand, lucky bees having a farm like yours to live on.


  6. Pingback: Bailey comb change for spring bees | Miss Apis Mellifera

  7. karcuri13 says:

    What are these blue gloves? Are they plastic?


  8. Mil says:

    My, that queen sure is a beauty. You’re not biased at all!


  9. Great minds name their Queen’s alike 😉 I occasionally locate our Queens (they’re not marked as they were from feral colonies, as I’ve never marked them), but I never find them when I actually am trying to spot them. It doesn’t help that we’re running all mediums, and our colonies are huge at the moment. I do find the dark Queens especially tricky to find, as they don’t stand out as much. I love that photo with HRH perched on the glove!


    • Emily Heath says:

      It’s great that your colonies are doing so well already. The dark queens certainly are easy to miss. Ours are named after essential oils, as my hive partner Emma is a trained aromatherapist.


  10. Anna says:

    When performing a shook swarm, the varroa mites in the brood are left behind. The only mites left would be the phoretic ones, do you think treating with oxalic acid or the repeated powdered sugar dustings would help even more to cut the mite population? I’m intrigued…


    • Emily Heath says:

      Hi Anna,

      I’ve heard you shouldn’t do the oxalic too many times as it might have a negative effect on the queen’s health. We usually do it in late December/early January here. Keeping up the sugar dusting after a shook swarm sounds like a good idea. Some beekeepers even remove the first frame of brood produced after the s-s as nearly all the varroa will have headed in there, but obviously that sets the colony back a bit. Do you shook swarm your bees?


      • Anna says:

        No I don’t, but I wonder if I tried it next year in addition to sugar dusting, if I would be able to avoid using the MAQS (formic acid) altogether. I shall have to investigate…


  11. Sarah Dye says:

    Ha, I did indeed get stung on the leg. It stayed pretty itchy and inflamed for a good few days. I was very self controlled about scratching for about 2 days, but gave in on the third! I felt the tickly feeling a couple of times up the trousers, but decided it was nothing… until the sting came! Then followed the attractive site of me dropping my trousers to get the sting out as Emma and Emily made a makeshift shield out of some bubble plastic! Wellies are part of my beekeeping attire now.


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