Queen Mothers

6/16/2017 03:03:00 pm 0 Comments

During our last inspection, the first WBC hive we looked at (on the right in the photo below) was missing its queen but fortuitously we found her on the ground. Sadly this was not such a happy ending, as even though we introduced her, she’s gone walkabout again. This hive did contain lots of stores and polished brood cells though, suggesting there is a queen either being mated or in the hive somewhere, preparing to start laying. This theory is backed up by the fact that there are two emerged queen cells, one of which had a clear puncture mark suggesting one queen has hatched and killed the other. Let’s hope this queen is successfully mated and lasts longer than the previous one! One of the supers on this hive is full, while the other which I added last week still has plenty of space for the bees to work on.

In the second WBC hive (in the middle of the photo above) we were hoping we would find a new queen and eggs, but instead the hive was very quiet with the majority of the brood frames were filled with pollen and nectar, with no brood or eggs visible. This suggests there is still no mated queen present. However, we did find two large and developed queen cells so hopefully these will hatch and we should have a new queen soon. There is only one super on this hive which is being filled slowly.

We have now completed the bailey comb change on the donated hive by removing the old brood boxes (see before and after pics). 

Note the use of straps to secure the hives in the recent high winds

These boxes do contain a fair amount of honey, but this is mainly early season rape honey and due to the nature of the comb it will be difficult to extract. So we decided to put these frames in our bait hive for now, so that the bees can harvest this and re-deposit it back into the main hive, hopefully in a much tidier fashion! The frames in the bait hive will be more likely to attract any swarms which enter the apiary. 

Bait hive temporarily housing honey-filled frames from donated hive

Back in the main hive brood box, the inspection revealed a healthy queen, lots of eggs & brood and well-drawn frames - the perfect result from our bailey comb change. This hive now appears to be our healthiest, on the grounds that it has a queen and is not trying to swarm!

Notice the nice new brood pattern on these brood frames

Chris also inspected his hives. One has swarmed but the others seem to be doing well with most now having supers on them. It was hot again today, but after having to call ambulance assistance last time, we but we tried to be as efficient as possible, stayed hydrated and took no risks when it comes to avoiding stings!


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