Monday, 26 July 2010

Bee update

At the weekend we checked the bees, so a quick update ( to be corrected this evening, if I have misunderstood all that was happening.... I'm still learning ! )

The hive housing the prime swarm is progressing well. The queen is busy laying and the young bees have started emerging over the past week or so, increasing the numbers dramatically. Their stores are building up nicely, although it appears they have been feeding from them during the recent wet spell. Stores which had been laid down in the brood box are being moved to the super, giving the queen more space to lay.

The original hive from which the swarm left hasn't fared so well. The first queen to emerge from the queen cells, left on her mating flight and returned to the hive to lay a few eggs but for some reason, maybe she was injured or died, supercedure cells were built.
Towards the end of last week there were no sign of eggs and the number of original bees was dwindling. So we decided this weekend to move the remaining bees into a nuc. box, for warmth, add a frame of emerging bees and larvae from the prime hive and order a new queen.
On inspecting the hive at the weekend, however we discovered a small patch of newly laid eggs. We are fairly sure they haven't been laid by worker bees, as they have been laid singularly at the bottom of the cells - workers have a tendency to lay at the side of the cells and often more than one to each cell. The other possibility, although we won't know until they are capped, is that they are drone eggs laid by an unmated bee.
So for now we have moved all the bees from the hive, the frame with the eggs in, another frame with emerging brood from the other hive and three frames of stores into a nuc. box, placed on the original site of the hive. We have also reserved a newly mated queen, from another beekeeper, available at the weekend just in case.

2 comments:

Moon Over Martinborough said...

I have this thing about bees. I really want some! I just have so much on at the moment, and it's all I can deal with to manage the olive oil and the bottle and selling of that. Plus the garden (much neglected right now) and the chickens, oh, yeah, and the day job. So I'm holding off on the bees, but I really like that you're doing it!

Sandra said...

Thank you. The bees are actually my sons, but I'm learning so I can care for them when he is away. The more you learn the more fascinating and amazing they are.

I'm planning to build a top bar hive so next year I will have my own :)

When you do have the time your olive groves will be the perfect place for them and you will never regret having them.