So, it’s Spring, and we’ve done a few visits to the bees so far, mostly to move them to the new Training Apiary the Association is building on the same site they’ve always been homed at. But that annoyed the colony somewhat, so we didn’t get to have a really good look at them. We’d also put some food in for them a couple of times, but it was colder then, so we didn’t want to pull out frames and let their heat out.
But I got news from Simon late last week, that one of our number had put the call out for a spare Super box, as she already had 3 on her hive, and they were so filling it out already they were threatening to swarm. So Emily and I visited on Friday evening, with our second Super, and the hope we were in time… We’d noticed there was a lot of pollen early, but it hadn’t occurred to us that this might be the result.
And the colony does seem very healthy. Sadly we didn’t find the queen herself, and since the queen excluder has been out all Winter, she’s been laying in both the Brood box and the Super. But we put the excluder on top, and then the new Super above that, so anything up there will be only honey. We found a few test Queen cells, and all the frames were filling up, so hopefully giving them more room means they’ll not swarm, even though they were thinking about it. And just in case, we put our Nuke Box beside the hive.
A Nucleus Box is a half hive, meant specifically for housing and transporting swarms. I’d set it up, and filled it with frames, in the hope of putting it where the hive was beside the house last year when it filled with our FreeBees swarm. But this seems a greater need. The frames in it are the same as those in normal hives – there’s just less room for them in there. So should it fill up, we can buy a new hive, set it up, and then transfer these frames into it.
So, we now have a busy hive, with 2 supers, and it’s still April. So, with luck we might get an early harvest as well as an Autumn one. Here’s hoping. But I think we’re going to be spending money on hive parts again soon.