Weekly Inspection – Chilly May

First inspection in May and the weather has continued to be unseasonable – cold and wet with temperatures struggling to get above 10C. The forecast is for more of the same.
The bees were very ratty and I got stung a few times. Also it’s now noticeable that the bees are going through what little stores they have managed to put away. Another worrying factor is that generally the queens have slowed down their egg laying and there’s not a lot of unsealed brood in quite a few colonies. Overall disappointing, very little progress to report for the various colonies.

Moved the Lime nuc back to the home apiary.

Apidea – still has sealed queen cell.

Flowering: Same as last week – Cistus, horse chesnut and apple

Weekly Inspection- wet, wet, wet April

Well the weather has continued to bucket it down – apparently wettest April for 100 years! Bit concerned about stores as the bees couldn’t get out to forage. Fortunately all appear to have sufficient and not require feeding.

Also the weather is likely to have an impact on the mating of the queens that I am currently raising. In fact the apidea with a ripe queen cell seems to have a drone layer – so will need to get rid of this fairly soon. The other apidea which had a mated queen in it for a day has raised a rather nice queen cell. Not sure if it is viable, but decided to leave it and see what happens.

The Plum colony split doesn’t seem to have stopped the parent colony with the old queen raising more queen cells. There were a lot of bees and looked to be short of space. So swapped some frames around with the other half and reversed the entrance around to bleed off some brood and bees.

Cistus, Horse Chesnut, Apple and Lilac now starting to blossom

Weekly Inspection – April Rain

Well the bad weather has continued this week, lots of rain and temperatures only reaching 12°C. The rain meant that I put off doing the last stage of the queen rearing but only by a day. Noticeable that the bees haven’t been able to forage much and have been eating through their stores this week. Transferred sealed queen cells into the two apideas. Replaced one of the sealed queen cells with a spare laying queen I was given from two colonies being united (not my bees). I set up a nuc with brood and bees from Aqua and Cyan – dusted with icing sugar to prevent fighting and put the queen into a Butler cage between two frames. So I’ll see how she gets on over the next few weeks.

On Thursday, 19th whilst doing the transfer of queen cells in the Plum colony I examined the Maroon colony which had shown signs of swarming last week. There were more new charged queen cells so I took out the queen and four frames of brood and stores and put into a nuc and brought it back to my home apiary. I will let the parent colony raise a new queen.

So I currently have 2 new nucleus colonies(Green and Lime), each with laying queens.

Took out the varroa slides at the Mole apiary and only found a total of 3 mites, so nothing to worry about on this front.

Flowering: Pear and horse chesnut both coming into bloom.

Weekly Inspection – Easter

Well the weather has been much colder around 10°C – 12°C all week. Starting to see evidence of swarming activity – charged queen cells , 2 with eggs and lots of queen cups. Took out 2 slabs of drone brood. Evidence of quite a lot of Varroa in one colony, so will treat with icing sugar next week.

Have also put the Apidea frames into a colony to see if they will draw the comb, then I can feed Apideas with wet sugar rather than syrup.

The largest colony, Plum, seems set on swarming so will go back tomorrow to perform a Snelgrove style split.

Flowering: Plum finishing, gooseberry just starting

Weekly Inspection – April Fool

Well the weather has been exceptional – up to 20 C. Bees have been very active bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. Managed to inspect both home and River Mole apiaries, will try to do Westhumble on Wednesday.

Saw a drone with white eyes (forgot my camera) which is a recessive trait. Also the queen in the largest colony at the Mole apiary is massive, so will need to try and breed from her later in the season.
Decided to try and strengthen the nuc to see if I can get it to a viable state with a view to re-queening later in the season.

Forecast for the coming week is much lower temperatures, which may slow things down.

Flowering: Plum and flowering cherry