Yesterday I made these cookies before leaving for beekeeping. They’re apricot & pistachio cookies from a book called ‘TrEATs: Delicious food gifts to make at home‘ by April Carter. I bought the book from April after taking a cupcake decorating course she taught. I was pleased with these and have frozen some to take into work on Monday. Clare brought down some gorgeous chocolate brownies to the apiary and Alan had tea ready at 2pm on the dot, what a treat.
We had a new visitor to see the hives – Rick works for the British Transport Police in one of their control rooms, sending police out to incidents as they occur. His job has obviously prepared him well for unexpected events as he was not worried when a bee stung him on the first frame he’d ever inspected. He had been bare handed, so Emma provided him with some nice yellow Marigolds and he was able to inspect Pepper’s bees without any further pain.
Poor Rick also had to contend with his borrowed bee suit – every time he leaned forward to replace a frame the fabric top of the veil fell over his eyes so he couldn’t see anything!
We approached Myrtle’s old colony preparing ourselves for the worst – no eggs, no queen. Joy of joys, in the middle I found a brand new queen, who we think must be Myrtle’s daughter – her line continues! She has really got the hang of laying too, with one egg per cell right at the bottom. The top of her abdomen is golden brown and the end black and pointy. I like dark queens so this pleased me. Emma has a name in mind for her Majesty, but she hasn’t revealed it yet.
Between us we spotted three of our four queens and saw eggs in all four hives – for once, all are queen-right ! The only downside was that I was able to show Rick what bees with deformed wing virus look like. Emma is going to put Apiguard in the colonies tomorrow – I can’t wait to count the mites that land on the monitoring board.
Pepper’s bees at their entrance. We have put the entrance reducers in now as the nectar flow has ended and there are plenty of hungry wasps about.
After we’d finished inspecting I went home to fetch my bike and pedalled over to check Queen Stella’s bees at my allotment. As I wanted to take honey off I didn’t bring my bulky smoker and inspected without any smoke. Not a single bee stung me or tried to either. No need to bother using a clearer board with the gentle allotment bees, I just brushed the bees off three frames and bagged them up.
Whilst inspecting the brood frames I spotted a dastardly mite making her way across the capped brood, probably looking for an uncapped cell to climb in and reproduce inside. I picked it up with my fingers and squished it with my hive tool. Much as I’m against killing insects in general, I felt no remorse for this act I’m afraid. On the contrary – I had a big grin of satisfaction on my face.
My friendly allotment neighbour Patrick was busy digging his veggies. I gave him a honey frame and in return he gave me some beetroot, leeks and cabbage from his plot. There’s something fun about being given vegetables that were in the soil a moment ago. Later today I’m taking my honey frames to Emma’s dad’s house and we’re going to extract ourselves some of the golden stuff.