What I wasn’t expecting to find was a large occupied queen cell…
I removed it and had a look through my frames – there are some eggs and very young larvae, but it is patchy and not a great deal of it. I have added a couple of frames a beautiful looking brood from another hive (after a shook swarm) and we’ll see if that makes a difference. Guinevere (for that is the name of my queen) was looking pretty perky and moving about quite happily. I have sprayed the frames with Nosevit for Nosema and put on a light sugar feed, also containing Nosevit. Not much else I can do for now…
But then I helped with a shook swarm, which was really interesting. I have only watched one on YouTube before and it all looked rather chaotic and a tad scary. But it was great. Learning from someone who is so experienced and organised makes such a difference. You start with a good strong hive – lots of bees, brood and stores and you end up with a completely fresh hive – full of bees and undrawn foundation.It looks like such a drastic thing to do – but apparently they will have drawn lots of comb by the following week and the queen will be laying again.
We couldn’t actually find the (unmarked) queen, but just hoped she had gone along with all the other bees. The photo below shows what the hive looked like before adding some feed. They all disappeared back inside very quickly.
The following week, before doing a shook swarm on another hive we quickly checked this one to see that it was all going to plan. But it wasn’t. Not much comb drawn out and NO EGGS! The queen obviously hadn’t gone in. But all the bees were still there. We took the hive apart and underneath the floor there was a large cluster of bees and there she was.
Back to my hive. This really isn’t looking good at all. I was concerned about the queen cell. But its worse now and I will just leave it to its own devices. No queen, no eggs, a few young larvae. The lovely brood that should have all hatched out by now hasn’t. In fact some of the bees have developed but only half emerged. It may be that there aren’t enough bees to keep it all warm enough. But there were five occupied emergency queen cells. All occupied. So I closed it up, crossed my fingers, and left it well alone. The reality is that I don’t think it will survive for one moment. The weather this week has been dreadful.
But not long until I collect my new nuc. Lets hope this is more successful.