We had some fascinating visitors to the apiary on Saturday. A dad and his little boy, who we lent a mini-sized bee suit. The little boy had sandals on, so he borrowed his dad’s socks. It was sweet to see an enormous grin come over his face as he watched the bees.
We also had a couple from Bulgaria, who had driven two hours across London to visit us in the wilds of zone 4. Alexa and her boyfriend are working in London for a few months and wanted to visit British beekeepers – because they are missing their bees.
And no wonder. When I asked Alexa how many hives they have, she replied “seventy”. Yep, 70! I thought perhaps they might be professional or semi-professional beekeepers, but no… in Bulgaria they both work full-time then travel 200 miles each weekend to check up on their bees. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what beekeeping does to you. You will go absolutely barmy through love for your bees.
Emma and I inspected and found our bees doing well. The new queen which emerged from a cell after we split Pepper’s hive has begun laying. Pepper and Melissa are continuing to lay beautifully. During the seven years I’ve had Melissa’s bees, the colony has tended towards superseding rather than swarming, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they try to supersede her late in the season this year. I just hope that goes off without a hitch as we’ve been through a lot with those bees and it would be sad to lose their line of gentle, hardy, non-swarmy ladies.
There were sad times at the allotment last weekend, as Cassiopeia turned out to be a drone-layer. She had to be dispatched and the colony combined with Andromeda’s bees, using the ever reliable newspaper method. This has turned it into a monster of a hive – three brood boxes, one super (Cassiopeia was on two brood boxes as I hadn’t quite finished the Bailey comb change). My challenge for the coming weekend is to mark queen Andromeda and reduce the colony down into two brood boxes.
A few photos of flowers, a bee, a horse and a pudding to finish the post.
These little white flowers look a bit like stitchwort – are they?
The Barbican has some spectacular alliums this year. The bees adore them.
Bees eat flowers, I eat waffles.