We got home on Saturday night to find a phone message from Simon. He and Geoff had popped by earlier in the day to borrow my Nuke box, which I’d put down the side of the house again, in case we caught another swarm. But they’d had one at the Training Apiary, and had hoped to catch that with it. No such luck. But they then checked the hives to see where it came from, and found that Emily and I were right last time we looked – our hive had been making Queen Cells. They found 11. They left 2, just in case as they couldn’t find our queen, but took the rest, as 2 of Simon’s hives were now queenless. And Simon asked us to look again for a queen in ours, so see what was happening.
On Monday evening we did just that. And much as we searched, we didn’t find her. Or any sign of recent laying – small C larvae, but no eggs. But we also found 5 queen cells, not two. We left at least one, and will check again next weekend. But we don’t think they could have swarmed. There were just too many bees in the hive to believe there used to be twice as many in there. And there were drones on top of the queen excluder, so the few remaining larvae in the first Super had hatched. And finally the new Super was about half full already. So we’ll need to add more supers soon. I’m actually planning an early harvest, take maybe both supers and put in two clear frames sets in my new Supers, which I painted and built on Friday. Unfortunately, the Shop was out of frames and foundation, and it could be 2 weeks before I get those. Both Supers could be full by then, and a swarm would then be very likely.
So, we have loads of bees, many drones, but maybe no queen. But queen cells are there, so that shouldn’t be a problem for long – we just have to wonder what happened to the queen we had, given she was new last Autumn. And we may very well have a lot of honey, mostly from apple blossom, soon.
No photos though – not much to show, and the bees really weren’t too happy to be bothered again so soon. And thinking back, they got more aggressive last time they had no queen, too.
But here instead are some links I’ve been reading recently. This guy started following me on Twitter – a new Californian beekeeper, with an interesting looking top-bar hive: http://ihavebees.com/ . And an interesting site on dark British honey bees my wife found – http://www.bees.me.uk/Bees/Welcome.html – I’m cynical because he then sells queens, but our bees are very dark, so seem to be british hybrids.