Springing into action

The arrival of some slightly warmer weather and occasional sunshine is the cue for the wild flowers of Ealing apiary to shoot upwards. Here you can see a swarm catcher dangling amidst a sea of white and green.

Weeds in the apiary

The bees are expanding fast too. Today I went to see our new hive in Hanwell – the bees have kindly been donated to us by Ian, a nice Ealing beekeeper. This was the scene when I lifted the crownboard…

Lots of bees

Packed frames

Full hive

Each frame is fully drawn out, right down to the dummy board. My smoker went out quickly but apart from a couple of puffs at the entrance I managed to inspect the hive without smoking them. Occasionally a couple of bees buzzed round my head, but despite only wearing thin latex gloves I received no stings. Since I started I’ve gradually learnt that swamping the bees in smoke isn’t necessary. I saw the queen and no queen cells, which was a relief.

Emma and her dad had left a super by the hive earlier this week, which was a big help. I put a queen excluder and the super over the top, so that the ladies can start storing honey up there and free up space for the queen to lay.

Song for a new super, set to the tune of Missy Elliott’s Get Ur Freak On

Bees be putting it down, fill your stomachs big and round
New combs around, y’all can’t stop eating
Listen to me now, y’know you can do twenty pounds
And if you want that sweet nectar then come on get it now
Is you with me now (YES) then buzz buzz buzz it now
(SWEET!!) Bees fly around (YES)
Now honey gathers round, now beeks jump around

Go, get your super on
Go, getcha getcha getcha getcha getcha super on

Dead drone

Dead drone

Last picture – a dead, disintegrating drone I found on the ground. The tiny hooks that hold the wings together in flight have become disengaged and you can clearly see his four wings. For all his big eyes and muscles he never reached a queen.

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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30 Responses to Springing into action

  1. Looks like everyone is healthy and happy…..


  2. novicefarmer says:

    Your bees look great! Hoping to get my new nuc next week and get started again. Keep the bog posts coming.


    • Emily Heath says:

      “Keep the bog posts coming” – Amusing typo! I’m sure there’s a few WordPress bloggers who write their posts on the loo. Good luck with the new nuc, it’s always exciting getting new bees.


  3. That looks like a lot of happy, busy bees.


  4. disperser says:

    Exciting times . . . but . . . just a suggestion; lead with the dead drone, and end on a happy note.


  5. willowbatel says:

    I can’t stop laughing. You two need to make a music video and make ‘get your super on’ the next big thing!


  6. cecilia says:

    How exciting, all those good healthy busy bees, you must be thrilled!.. c


  7. That is a lot of bees! I love that shot of them too. Cute dance number.


  8. Your photos look like you are really being successful…


  9. Sounds like you are doing very well despite the difficult winter. That’s good news; do you have any updates on winter losses in the UK more generally? Did you see that in the US winter losses are about a third: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/05/winter-honeybee-losses/


  10. Love the super song! It’s, well, super! 🙂 And I agree that music video would be pretty cool, too, though I imagine you and the girls are far too busy with serious work for such frivolities. ;-D


  11. karcuri13 says:

    That is one healthy looking hive!


  12. Simon says:

    This hive looks awesome and so healthy-busy, Emily! You mentioned everything is drawn out. Does this box have another one on top or are you thinking about adding another one?
    I’m glad the weather is getting a bit better. I spoke with my folks in Germany yesterday, who told me their spring is still cold as well. Ugh!


    • Emily Heath says:

      At the moment they’re just in the one National brood box. There’s pros and cons to putting them into a double-brood box. Pros: more room for the queen to lay, bigger colonies, less likely to swarm. Cons: more equipment to buy, harder to inspect, more chance of missing queen cells, less chance of getting honey. Something to think about.

      Back to the rain this week here, unfortunately!


  13. How populous a hive. A happy sight for a beek.


  14. Alex Jones says:

    I am glad to see your bees are prospering despite the long winter.


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