Monday, August 17, 2009

Bee lucky!

Well a gorgeous summer's evening here today in the Irish Midlands - what a pleasant change of late - so we took the opportunity to look into the hive to check on the girls' welfare.

It's so much easier with the two of us - one to keep puffing the dreaded smoker , to take notes and to do the running about - the other to remove the frames and to do the manual stuff. A second pair of eyes is great.

The food from last time was all gone although I don't think anyone had told the bees as they seemed upset to loose the now-empty plastic bucket which I use for holding the syrup. That said, I added around a pint in a circular feeder before I closed up which should be about right. The weather this week is meant to improve slightly, I'm told, so they should be able to source enough food for themselves. It's getting cooler at night so they'll be using more fuel to keep warm too.

As far as the hive is concerned, there was little change from the last time with plenty of brood at all stages (fresh eggs, open larvae and sealed brood) which was a really good sign given my concern that I had too much honey.

Well to top everything, Elva with her beady eyes spotted the Queen for the second time ever. Q always seems to be on Elva's side of the frame as I hold it up! That's my excuse anyway...

I had got hold of some Queen-marking paint lately which we thought we'd try to apply. Anyway, I don't think we're ready to take manoeuvre yet. We ended having a near miss with her when she crawled up my glove and Elva saw her fall off into the hive. Yikes! I should be working glove-free by this stage but I don't yet have the guts to go commando!! After that, I went back through the frames again until Elva spotted her majesty looking none the worse for her brief excursion. What a relief!

Everything else appeared normal (to our novice eyes) and so after feeding I left them to their own devices for another while. Interestingly, their temperament was good (4 out of 5) - no stings this time - it seems that the smoke just upsets them.

I remembered to add the varroa floorboard so I'll have a look at the end of the week to see what kind of mite drop it shows up.

Please leave comments of how your own bees are coming along. I am especially interested to hear your thoughts on the right balance between brood and stores at this time of the year as this seems to be fairly crucial to their overwintering capability and the timing of late summer supering.

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