Well That’s Odd…

First odd thing – some sun on a Bank Holiday Monday.  But it gave Emily and I a chance to go and see how the hives in the Training Apiary were doing.  And that’s when things got odder…

Our main hive is doing very well, lots of honey in both Supers, lots of laying in the brood box.  Our 2nd hive isn’t so happy though – no sign of any laying at all now, and the bees weren’t at all happy.  We didn’t see a queen, so no idea where the ones that hatched have gone.  Killed each other?  Flown in a swarm after all?  We took off the entrance moving contraption, and put it together normally – I think we’re going to have to merge a swarm in there to re-queen it.  Again?

Then on to Hive 9, where we’d seen chalk brood before, and had a bit of a surprise in how they’ve been building:

What on earth is that about?  There was little sign of movement from the bottom box, where the problem was, to the top, where we want them to move, so we put in my middle entrance contraption without the queen excluder, in the hopes that having an entrance above the trouble will cause them to enter and build up from there, and ignore the bottom box, where we closed the entrance:
Then we moved back to Hive 8, which had the mold last time.  That seems to be solved, but there was clear sign of chalk brood here now, too:

We did see the queen here, who’s marked white, but my 2 photos are sadly blurred, so here’s more chalk brood:

They’re still trying to lay here, but we need to do more to sort this hive – I need to talk to Simon and Geoff.  Maybe shaking this colony to merge into my 2nd hive, or a replacement in Hive 10’s place?

But there’s some serious work needed as soon as the weather is better again.

And then, while typing this, I realized that when we removed the upper entrance to our 2nd hive, I didn’t remember opening the bottom one.  And nor did Emily.  So I grabbed an inspection cowl and my gauntlets and drove back.  And sure enough, we’d forgotten, and the hive was sealed shut.  So I pulled on my gauntlets, and put the cowl over my head, but didn’t bother pulling it down over my body and using the sleeves – I was only going to be popping the entrance restrictor up and leaving it in its normal position.  Remember I mentioned they weren’t happy?  And that I rarely if ever tuck my shirt in?  Well that, ladies and gentleman, is how I got stung on my upper bum.  And why I ended up running back to the car, and spinning around in circles waving a bit of floor mat.  I’m an idiot.

1 thought on “Well That’s Odd…

  1. Hi Mark,
    As I said on the phone, take a frame with eggs from the strong hive, shake off the bees and place it in the weak one. Mark it with a drawing pin and leave for about 7-10 days.

    After that time, have a careful look. If you see a Queen cell, then the hive was Queenless before and they are doing something about it now. If not, then there is a Queen there, but she might not have mated or started laying yet… The weathers so bloody awful, it seems to be taking a lot longer for the virgin Queens to mate, return and start laying.

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