Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ladies in waiting

Yesterday was beautiful here although not as warm as it should be for this time of year.  The forage available is the leftovers from the dandelion that are now going to seed (to the annoyance of the non-beekeeping population), fruit blossom and incredible yellow gorses. Early summer shrubs and flowers in the garden attract the odd interested visitor.

Repeating the inspection methodology from last time with Elva armed and ready at my side, we discovered that the marked Queen cells from before had been elongated and their developing contents were growing inside them.  My bees are definitley reading the same books that I do.  Just as well because there seems to be so many different techniques for every one ambition.

We quickly spotted eggs throughout the hive; testimony to the Queen still be ingalive and well and that I should worry far less when it comes to beekeeping! [Do any of you fellow beekeepers constantly suffer from these misplaced feelings of doubt and paranoia? ] The lower brood frames were packed with nurse bees and yet despite their numbers, Elva's eagle eyes spotted her majesty.  Elva had laser eye correction last year - her queen-spotting skills are now superhuman.

AGAIN failing at colour marking, we transfered her on a brood frame along with a couple of frames of food into an adjacent nucleus box.  I don't believe the Queen was really aware of the plans that we had for her.  A sad moment really as she is removed permanently from her 30 or 40 thousand daughters :(

Making up the remaining 4-frame nucleus with an empty foundation frame and 2 frames's worth of bees we closed up the nucleus and blocked off the entrance with some grass (for 48 hours).  Seemingly, this blocking technique delays their re-emergence sufficiently to allow them to "re-home" themselves and adapt to the new hive.  I shall see and keep my fingers crossed.

Going back to the original hive on its original stand, I removed one of half a dozen developing Queen cells.  This one in particular was far more developed and my book suggest cells close to being sealed should be removed.  Not sure why you do this other than if you wanted to delay the new virgin Queen emerging which might be useful in the event of bad weather forecast.  Any ideas of why this should be advised would be welcome!

The hive was then closed and we congratulated ourselves with high fives on having completed our first major manipulation to control swarming (hopefully) and to augment our single colony.  I have to re-examine the original hive in a week or so just to check how things have developed in the interim.  I expect that the bees will be a little more testy than usual. Would that be fair to say?

Time will tell how successful we've been! Aplogies for the lack of photos - I don't know how you guys manage such fantastic photos when there is so much to do.  Experience I guess....


Pia said...

You sound as if you are a week or so in advance of me in Somerset...
I know exactly what you mean in terms of bee paranoia, sometimes I actually want to find varroa just so I know it is there and I havent missed it - how twisted is that?
I also feel sad at the prospect of removing our lovely placid Queen - that is if we ever get to that stage...
I am sure I have come across the reason why you remove advanced Queen cells - will have a look at my notes.

Kenzie said...

"Do any of you fellow beekeepers constantly suffer from these misplaced feelings of doubt and paranoia?"
- nope, Cliff, I have no idea what you're talking about: for my part I suffer from a WELL placed feeling of doubt and paranoia!