Bees – 23-7-2021

Siobhan and I did some cool beekeeping at 7:45 this morning.
We confirmed that our hive 3 was definitely queenless and merged these bees with hive 1 which was queenright. If all goes well this will give us a strong colony to overwinter for next year. Despite being without a queen for a month the bees from 3 have laid down lots of stores on brood frames. We won’t harvest these but distribute them around the other colonies to supplement their winter feed.
Hive 2 which you will remember unexpectedly swarmed, has newly laid eggs in the brood frames meaning that it must have a new mated queen. We didn’t see her but it looks very promising.This colony is not particularly strong at the present but there is a good chance that it will build up to a viable strength by the autumn. The swarm, which escaped, we know went via Kim’s and headed off in the direction of Yorkley. A couple of days later Jan O’Neil who lives at the NW end of Blakeney Hill Road found a swarm had occupied her empty national hive! Coincidence or what? It’s nice to think that the bees are still with a member of the bee portion!
Hives 4, 5, and 6 are all strong colonies. 6 has filled a super with sealed honey and the other two are close behind. They all now have second supers added and so as long as it doesn’t snow in the next month with the bees eating their way through their stores we should have a reasonable harvest. We didn’t do a full inspection on any of these three hives since disturbing the brood boxes gives a drop off in foraging and I would rather we kept their productivity up! One threat though is the dreaded wax moth which can decimate a harvest. We will be vigilant.