As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve joined the London Beekeepers Association (LBKA) mentoring scheme this year. Today I was joined at the Perivale apiary by one of my mentees, Chris. He is doing well and spotted lots of eggs as well as queen Pepper. He also got stung for the first time, so is now properly on his way to becoming a beekeeper.
Queen Melissa must have given her loyal subjects orders to destroy all records, as their hive records had a distinctly chewed appearance. Perhaps she is hoping to remove all evidence of her age before her daughters decide she is getting too old. Still no sign of queen cells and the bees are well on their way to filling up a second super. They really are the most perfect bees.
I enjoyed finding Albert’s new and rather upmarket hive stand.
We inspected all three hives and found them queen-right. While Chris was inspecting he noticed that Pepper’s bees had a few cells with dead larvae in – only about ten in total spread throughout the brood box – these looked like bald brood or chalk brood but I think in such small amounts nothing to worry about. Will keep an eye on it though.
Afterwards I had some lunch with Drew and then went on my own to check on the allotment bees. When you are having a hard time in life and things are not going your way, the allotment is a good place to come for some mental healing. Our wildflowers sowed a few months ago have burst into colour, with red poppies waving everywhere. In amongst them bumbles buzzed and chirping sparrows jumped from stem to stem.
Our cherries are turning red to match the poppies.
Can you see how her pollen baskets are grey but with orange coloured stripes running through them? I loved that.
Inside the hive things were not so comforting. Sadly my troubles with the allotment bees continue, after combining the two hives on 6th June it seems something has happened to Andromeda, who had been laying so well in the nuc. No sign of eggs last weekend so Tom kindly gave me a test frame with eggs to see if the bees would try and produce a queen cell to replace her. They had done nothing with the test frame this week.
Sometimes queens stop laying if there’s not much nectar coming in, but the blackberries are out now and there’s no shortage of food in the hive. It may be that she has accidentally been squashed at some point or something went wrong when combining the two colonies. But as they haven’t tried to make a queen cell from the test frame, is either Andromeda or another queen in there somewhere but not laying for some reason? Another of these bee mysteries. All thoughts or theories welcome.
I still inspected without gloves or smoke, but I could sense a change in mood, without the calming effect of open brood pheromones they were more buzzy and irritable than in the past. They also have more honey to defend now. Above you can see them hard at work in the super. It’s not all capped yet but all the frames have been filled and it’s mighty heavy to lift off.