Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Starting off......

After several weeks of evening classes, many evenings spent reading and researching the various types of hardware before eventually purchasing my hive, I recently took delivery of my first nucleus of bees from the local association in Co. Offaly. [ Thanks, John S].

Suddenly everything about keeping bees became real and the responsibility for these little creatures fell on my shoulders. Doubts over my abilities started to emerge.

The first "inspection" was more of a bee-transfering exercise from the nucleus to the main hive. Conditions weren't ideal so I didn't really have enough time for a full "check-up". As the books say, I added a new foundation frame and gave them some syrup. I shut them in for the night (not literally) and breathed a sigh of relief. Most of the vital signs were there although not seeing the Queen or eggs was a worry although I put that down to the overcrowding and my inexperience.

The proper inspection took place after 4 days. All the food was gone and they seemed a lot more settled. Still no Queen or eggs! Plenty of honey stores, capped and unsealed brood and pollen of various colours. There were a couple of drones which was a surprise. More syrup was added (the weather here is currently extremely mixed - torrential downpours followed by glorious sunshine) to help supplement Mother Nature's bounty and to assist drawing the new foundation.

My concern over not seeing the Queen is troubling me slightly. [I know this is what all beginners think!!] However, I wonder why there is so much fresh pollen about. Why no Queen cups if she's gone? I think I'll have to do another check in a few more days and look for the presence of eggs and uncapped larvae again and work back from there.

More to follow...

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