Top left: We had some extra help in the apiary last weekend from beekeeper Kristian. With five hives buzzing away it was great to have an extra pair of hands.
Top right: The new A-hive is growing fast and has already been expanded by three extra boxes for more brood and honey.
Bottom left: Fresh and capped brood. The most heartwarming sign of a hard working queen.
Bottom right: Thomas received his first sting (through his gloves) last weekend. My baptism was the week before. The feeling is more like a pin prick than a painful sensation. All our hives are livelier than last year, but one (the E-hive) is downright difficult.
8 June 2016
During last weekend’s check, there were no big surprises, all hives showed signs of a working queen, though just like the weekend before, we didn’t actually spot one. (The weather continues to be a little to chilly to examine each frame in detail.) It took 2 hrs to go through the hives and expand them. Best time of the week, without a shadow of a doubt.
We expanded 3 of hives with an extra honey box – in spite of the on-off summer, the bees have been adding plenty of nectar and pollen to their hives. When we visited our supplier Sigtuna Honung last weekend, the owner Kurt said his bees had hardly gathered any honey. He lives out in the country side and apart from rape, we couldn’t see much in the way of flowering plants. Suburban bees clearly have better access to food!
Only one of the hives, the D-hive, is developing at a slow rate. Having had so much queen trouble last year, we ordered two Buckfast queens from LP Biodling – when they arrive, we might swap out the existing queen for a new one. We’re also hoping to split some of the hives this coming weekend. We may put three of them out of sight behind the house. Our neighbours have so far been pretty tolerant about our front garden expansion but it’s best not to rock the boat.
We removed drone combs from all hives. Right now, we are putting the combs in the freezer for a few days and then we feed them to the birds. The problem is that not only do the eat the dead drones, but they also fly off with the wax which is in extremely short supply. So nearby beginner beekeeper Kristian is figuring out how to make a solar wax melter. Watch this space.
In short, this is what we did last weekend – 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, drone comb removed.
C-hive: drone comb removed.
B-hive: expanded by an HLS box, queen excluder added, drone comb removed.
D-hive: drone comb removed.
E-hive: expanded by an HLS box, queen excluder added, drone comb removed.