“Flight school” after three very cold days. The Stockholm temperatures went from 25°C to 10°C for three days in a row. When the weather got back to “normal”, all hives showed plenty of activity around 1pm. It’s always a joy to watch when young forager bees are chucked out of the hive to learn to fly.
30 May 2016
We normally inspect our hives over the weekend, but it was too windy and not very warm so we left it until today; this meant we had to rush a bit, as it was an ordinary working day albeit one with lovely sunshine.
There were no major surprises, but we didn’t spot a single queen, marked or unmarked. We didn’t try very hard, as we were in a bit of a rush.
We expanded all hives with the exception of the D-hive with an extra honey box and removed the varroa treatment from the C-hive. The A-, B-, D- and E-hive had been checked during the week for varroa mites and we were very relieved to find between 0 and 1 mites in the trays at the bottom of the hives. A lot healthier than last year around this time. When checking the drone combs we removed last week (we put them in the freezer for a few days before feeding them to the birds) I also found very little evidence of varroa.
Our surviving colony, the C-hive, has been treated for varroa with Apiguard, which means the honey they’ve been storing so far cannot be extracted. Ironically, this is of course our highest producing hive (it has a full height box with 10 frames of lovely honey) which we cannot harvest (the Apiguard leaves traces in the honey), but we can keep these frames for autumn food.
In short, this is what we did today – the order reflects the way in which the hives are situated in our garden, from right to left:
A-hive: expanded by an HLS box, queen excluder added, drone comb removed.
C-hive: expanded by an HLS box, queen excluder added, drone comb removed, Apiguard treatment removed.
B-hive: drone comb removed.
D-hive: no intervention.
E-hive: expanded by an HLS box, drone comb removed.
The bees in all hives were fairly docile today, even when we robbed the C-hive of some honey frames to add to the B-hive. Again, no smoke needed, just the towel trick.
It will be nice to have a weekend when the weather is warm and we can take our time to check the hives at our leisure and look for the queens! But there was plenty of evidence in all hives of an active queen with capped and fresh brood, so no need to worry.