Nature is cruel too…

My newly emerged queen – who we shall call Boudicca – has successfully filled up the Apidea with little eggs, so it is time to move her on.

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looking for eggs and the queen

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The bees haven’t really thrived with Liz in charge, so I decided to split the colony and put Liz into a nuc and then introduce the new queen to the hive. I made up the nuc with two frames of brood, a frame of stores and another frame of bees shaken in. I added three frames of foundation, closed the entrance and then tied it securely ready for a journey to its new location in Surrey.

Back to the Boudicca. I introduced her to the, now, queenless colony by laying a sheet of newspaper over the brood box and placing the Apidea, opened at the bottom, on top. Then the queen excluder, super, crown board and roof.

Then I took Liz and her nuc to a temporary home in Surrey. They seemed pretty happy and by the end of the afternoon there was lots of pollen being brought in. I had a quick look in the apiary in the early evening and was a bit disappointed to see dead bees in the grass outside the entrance. I’ll leave it a few days so that when I check I will know that any eggs will be Boudicca’s not Liz’s.

Three days later and the sun is shining. It has been so hot this week and really not the sort of temperature one wants to get all togged up in a beesuit and wellies, but I did. I find it so difficult as my glasses steam up and I get all hot and bothered which makes it really tricky for egg-hunting.

But egg-hunting I went. There weren’t any. Nor was there a queen – she isn’t marked but I had a good look. There were also the beginnings of five queen cells. I think it is fair to say that murder has taken place. But at least they are taking steps to do something about it.

While I was there I gave them a good spray with Nosevit and a light sugar solution. There was quite a bit of dysentry on the hive again last week, so I scrubbed it clean to see how much reappeared. I don’t think it is as bad as it was, but G helped me check it under a microscope and we couldn’t see any evidence of Nosema. We even checked the poo. So not sure what it is.

Tip for the week: If you have difficulty collecting 30 bees in a matchbox – use a bigger matchbox. Its so much easier!

PS. The sparrow hawk was back and took one of the adult robins and I have nasty feeling it was one of the adult pair feeding its brood in a nearby shed (not mine this time).

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A quick look…

Much excitement! I restrained myself and left the Apidea for two weeks but thought this was long enough without topping up the fondant. I was a bit worried about adding more fondant and accidentally killing some bees, but it was much more straightforward than I expected. I thought I might as well have a quick look at the drawn out comb. I noticed that there was some pollen (good sign) – and then I saw some eggs – not very many, but definitely eggs on one side of one frame. And then, there she was. My new queen. She must have only just started laying.

I can’t begin to describe how thrilling this was. Nature is completely wonderful when it works as it should. Mind you, earlier in the same day, I watched the sparrow hawk swoop down and take one of our baby robins. Only three out of four survived the nest in the shed – and  now there are only two left. Not quite so palatable!

The picture below was taken a couple of years ago but is rather lovely.

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