We inspected the apiary today and all was well. Caitlin in Hive 1, Rebecca in Hive 2, Sam in Hive 3, Claire in Hive 4 and Susan in Hive 6 were all doing well – eggs, larvae, brood, queens spotted and no sign of disease. Sam in Hive 3 and Claire in Hive 4 were particularly strong with brood over 7 or 8 frames, the other with brood over 3 to 4 frames.
It was interesting to watch Claire’s workers in Hive 4 throwing out the Drones. It’s the first time I’ve seen this happen. Three Drones were being thrown out so it must be getting to that time of year when the men are no longer required and therefore will no longer be tolerated in the hive – interesting!
I also witnessed a bee attacking a wasp that was trying to get into the hive. Fortunately, it was the only wasp about and I’m hoping that this year, I won’t have a wasp problem.
Hope in Hive 5, which you may remember was queenless, had some larvae! Initially I was very excited – there must be a laying queen! However, in retrospect, I didn’t see the queen so I’m wondering if it’s a laying Queen or a laying Worker? At the next inspection I’ll need to see how good the brood pattern is and then I’ll hopefully be able to tell. I’m still hopeful for Hope!
The amazing thing is that the bees in the apiary are changing. If I’ve understood the genetics then:
Rebecca in Hive 1 was my original hive that I brought through the winter – it had mongrel bees with a dark striped abdomen.
Caitlin in Hive 2, that I bought in April, also had mongrel bees with a dark striped abdomen.
Claire in Hive 4 and Susan in Hive 6, the two nucs I bought in May, had mild Buckfast bees with a golden orange colour abdomen.
So in June I had 4 hives – 50% with mongrel bees with a dark striped abdomen and 50% with Buckfast with a golden orange striped abdomen.
However, due to various manipulations and splits, Caitlin in Hive 1, Rebecca in Hive 2 and Hope in Hive 5 all now have queens which originated from Claire in Hive 4 – the mild mannered, beautiful golden orange coloured Buckfast bees. Even the Queens look similar – long and orange! Susan in Hive 6, although not the original Buckfast nuc queen, is derived from a queen cell from that queen. It is only Sam in Hive 3 which is from the original overwintered dark striped mongrel stock.
How interesting (or maybe it’s just me that thinks this?) – now I have 17% mongrel bees and 83% Buckfast bees!
As you’ll see from the photos, the majority have a golden orange striped abdomen but some still have a darker striped abdomen.