Returning to the hives this week, with both daughters, we were full of trepidation. Had last week’s efforts been successful? Have the original colony accepted the new queen, and is she laying? Have the small swarm still in the Nuc box made a new queen to replace her?
Well, yes and no. First, the original colony in the main hive:
That’s capped brood, that is. With some uncapped larvae around it, mostly above, and Emily saw some eggs, too. So that worked, and I have taken out Geoff’s queen cage, and it’s now soaking in washing soda to remove the propolis from it before we hand it back to him. There was sign of laying on other frames too. We were very happy.
But the small colony in the Nuc had made a small queen cap, more of a practice cell, and nothing else. It will soon be too late for them to replace her as her eggs will be too mature. So if they haven’t by next week, we’ll merge then into the new hive with the false swarmed colony. Who are doing very well, and we found a couple of frames of brood there, too. They need more frames in that hive anyway, so introducing the swarm, separated at first by a sheet of newspaper, so they get used to each other but can’t fight, will be the best way to not loose them.
We also had another job this week. My wife’s friend Marg from her Open University course is already an insect expert, as she works in pesticides for BASF. And her project this course is going to be on Verroa. So we’re going to try to collect some, properly package and post them to her. So the verroa board is back in. We had hoped to find some drone cells, at they were full of verroa a month or so ago – that’s how we know we have a problem again. But we found no drone cells this time. So it’ll be at least a week before we can oblige.