Today has been a busy bee day! This afternoon Sandy was inspecting his hive with help from Graeme and I was invited along to help and observe. We then went to Graeme’s apiary and inspected his three hives. It was so interesting to see how other beekeepers inspect their hives and to observe the little things they do which make life easier. A very informative and productive afternoon.
With the weather being so cold, it’s been a while since I’ve managed to inspect my own hives. With the sun shining, the thermometer showing 14 degrees and enthused by my afternoon, Sam and I heading out at 5pm to inspect the hives.
Great news! Hive Rebecca has 12 frames of brood in all stages between the two brood boxes, capped drone cells and plenty of stores. I couldn’t see any Varroa on the count board, although I’m sure there will be some, but there was quite a bit of chalk brood. Hopefully that will just sort itself out. I’ve asked a beekeeping friend when he thinks I should split the double brood into two single broods and I’m awaiting his advice. It might still be too early if there aren’t many drones flying – no point producing a queen if she can’t be mated!
Hive Caitlin also looked good. When the cold weather hit again, I removed the queen excluder from between the brood box and the super because weirdly, there was absolutely no stores in the brood box, it was all in the super. If the colony clustered and moved up into the stores with a queen excluder in place, the queen would have been left behind and she would have died. So, the inevitable has happened and the queen has started to lay in the super as well as the brood box. I now have what’s called a brood and a half! Having said that, I’m please to say she’s laid over 5 frames in both the super and the brood box with nice looking larvae, capped brood and some drone cells too. Again, I didn’t notice any Varroa on the count board and there were not other signs of disease.
Sam was a fantastic help today. He helped crack the hives open, smoked when it was needed, took photos, observed carefully and was completely unfazed when the bees started to get tetchy. Unfortunately on the way home, while holding the smoker out the car window because it was still smoking, he burnt his thumb. I just loved his explanation when his saxophone teacher asked him how he’d managed to burn this thumb. He said “We’re beekeepers and I burnt it on a thing called a smoker.” Not my Mum is a beekeeper or I was helping with the bees but “We’re beekeepers.” He is, he’s a beekeeper!