Saturday, 23 May 2015

Collecting honey and splitting the colony

The thief leaving the scene with her swag.
Sorry, but you'll have to wait a while longer if you're tuning in to find out who comes second in the cuteness competition. I'll tell you one thing, it's not these girls!
For now, I've been working hard in the garden this morning but I've been driven inside while Sue upsets the bees!

One of our hives is an absolute monster. In fact, both hives went into the winter very strong, but one has, for some reason, lost its queen. When Sue inspected the hive a couple of weeks ago she found no eggs and no young brood. Furthermore, there were supercedure / emergency queen cells in the middle of the frame. I'm not the expert here, but Sue is rapidly becoming so.

Sue transferred some brood along with pollen and honey to the hive and is hoping that the bees get on with things and replace their queen.

Monster hive.
A tactical retreat to the house was in order.
As for the other hive, the rape pollen is coming in and, as we all know to our cost, leave that in the hive for too long and it sets like concrete. So today Sue took off a super of honey to extract. At the same time she has attempted to split some of the colony into a third hive. Otherwise a hive that full would be sure to swarm at some point. (They probably will anyway, but might as well make the best of things and increase our number of colonies. After all, these days it seems inevitable that there will be winter losses.)

Here's what it's all about.
Cells waiting to be uncapped. There's honey in there!

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