Saturday morning was a Training Day for the new recruits to the Association, and I went along to help out, and showed some people around some of the hives with Elsa, Simon’s daughter. I hope this was interesting for them, as it was for me – we have some odd activity on my side of the Training Apiary. Geoff took a larger group through his hives. This is also my excuse for the very poor quality of the photos. I didn’t get much time to take any, and it looks like someone smeared Vaseline on my iPhone’s lens before I started.
It was very bright, too – a lovely day. So, sorry about the pictures.
We started on my main hive, and it’s doing very well for stores. I think I’ll be adding a third Super next week. However, there was no laying at all. So, either I’ve lost the queen, in which case I need to get another. Or she’s in there, but we did lose a swarm three or so weeks ago, all the remaining brood is now hatched, but the queen left behind hasn’t started laying yet, having only just mated. I’m guessing this is the case, and so am not panicking yet. If there’s still no laying next week or the one after, I’ll be after Simon and Geoff for help.
My 2nd hive was now showing loads of laying – about 7 full frames odd capped brood – but far less forage storage. Only a little building in the first super even so far. They’re a weak colony, but hopefully with a new queen, they’ll pick up fast now she’s laying like crazy, so I’ll bring along a 2nd Super next month in case.
Then on to Simon’s hives. He’d been back since I was last there, and Hive 10 is now the 2nd brood box from Hive 9, as we discussed in my last entry. And there was a lot of progress in both, but 9 was particularly interesting. This seems to be the hive that ended up without a queen, and we counted at least 10 sealed queen cells in it – the colony have taken eggs and made up a lot or new queens to take over. And then underneath the hive there was a lot of activity, as we saw on my first hive last year, that lead to the merging with my first. They were building underneath the hive. We don’t know if a mated queen has come back and not found her way back in to cause this, but next week we’ll deal with it.
Hive 10 appeared to be the half of the double brood box hive that ended up with the queen. Lots of brood, lots of drones, lots of very young, uncapped larvae. But we didn’t really see any eggs. About half the frames were full of brood. There was no sign of any disease either – they’ve done a very good job of cleaning house once we removed the worst frames. However, the frame that had misshapen comb on it last time was still causing problems. We had to cut two frames apart again, and the queen had been laying in this bridge, so that did some damage. This is the only hive I got to take these pictures of.
It seemed happy and healthy enough, and indeed we put a new Super on top, as the first was full. Again, we “checker-boarded” the frames.
We then looked at Hive 8, and here we saw the white marked queen again. Lots of laying, lots of stores, and so we put another Super on here, too. Simon had left us with three, but the remaining one was of the newer type, and we only had Hive 11 left to look at, and it was an older Hive.
And it too was very well. And will need a new Super soon. They’d not capped much yet, but it was near full with honey. I discussed this with Simon, and we’ll have a new Super for this next week.
So then we all returned to the cars, and Geoff talked further to the new members.