Trouble at the apiary!

We inspected the hives today and things weren’t as we’d hoped for – again!

Susan 1, which I artificially swarmed the last time, didn’t look good. It must have swarmed anyway, because there were very few bees, no sign of the lovely blue marked queen and very little stores. We decided to merged it back together with Susan 2 which, although queenless, had queen cells and therefore the hope of a queen in a few weeks. We also put on a feeder with sugar water as the government Beebase website has been advising beekeepers to feed their bees and, I have to admit, they had absolutely no stores.

Claire 1, also artificially swarmed, still had the lovely blue marked queen. There was brood, larvae and stores – thank goodness! Claire 2 had queen cells but no stores so we’ve left that one to hopefully emerge and mate a queen and we put a feeder on top with sugar water to help them along.

Rebecca 2 (the split) had eggs, larvae, brood and stores. Hopefully they’ll just keep going like that.

Rebecca 1 had no brood and no queen cells but it did have stores. We took a frame with queen cells from Susan 2 and put them in this hive. Hopefully they’ll accept the new queen when she emerges.

Hive Caitlin is still queenless and getting really rather grumpy but it did have plenty of stores. Again, we took a frame with queen cells from Susan 2 and put it in here with the same hope. Only time will tell.

So,we’ve now got 6 hives. Only 2 have laying queens but 4 have queen cells so there is still hope they will recover.

We are, as I’m sure you are, getting rather confused by the naming of the hives. When we’re surrounded by bees, under pressure, trying to think what’s best to do, it’s hard to remember who is who!  I think we will move to a more traditional method of naming them i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6 and put the numbers on the hives to avoid confusion.  I’ll keep you posted!

So, fingers crossed July is a kind month and any newly emerged queens can get mated and start laying.

It’s an unpredictable business this bee business!

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