We tried to do some work on the hives this afternoon, but as well as being rainy, it was also too cold – below 13 degrees, and you really don’t want to be letting the colony’s heat out of the hive.
We tried to gather verroa to send on, but from the 3 boards we checked under 3 different hives, we only found 2 live mites. So maybe we don’t need to treat right now after all. The higher count before may have been due to how many drones the colony were making for mating season? I really don’t know.
The Spring flowering was early, and the summer flowering hasn’t really started yet, so I made up some sugar water, and had both feeders with me, but brought them home again – there just wasn’t the opportunity to put them on. Maybe I’ll manage during the week.
But the news that rally struck home this week was a paragraph from the latest BBKA News that arrived with our membership cards. It says:
“One on the disadvantages of an open mesh floor is that scent and colony odour can pass through it while bees cannot. It is not unheard of for clipped queens to have returned to their colony, but be confused by the choice of the entrance or the mesh floor, both of which provide familiar odours to a queen who may well be returning on foot through the grass. A cluster will form around the queen, under the mesh floor, and a wise beekeeper will check here to see if a clipped queen appears to have been lost to swarming.”
I read that, smiled, and passed it to Emily. I later asked Simon about it, and he agreed he’d laughed when he read it. Our queen may not have been clipped, but she left the hive, and we found a small swarm under the hive around the same time… When we first saw the bees under the hive, there seemed to be bees going back and forth from there to the entrance. Suddenly it all makes sense.
I’m not that lucky after all. I caught one swarm in an empty hive, yes. But I seem to have killed the first queen, and the next one is so ditzy she couldn’t find her way home properly after her mating flight. Jokes about Newcastle will not be entertained, however. We’ve got her back in with her original family by a more complex means than may otherwise have been necessary. And now we need to merge, we presume, those that left with her and are now in a Nuke box, with those we false swarmed into the new hive. When it’s dry and warmer, though.