Bonnie from Richmond gives new queen a leg-up

Visitors yesterday evening – Janet from Tenby and her friend Bonnie from Richmond.

They called for honey and a cuppa, but were so interested in the bees that I showed them around the apiary.

Janet and Bonnie

All togged up, we took a smoker with us to check how the honey stores were, as this week has seen a marked drop in temps.

As can be seen, the wild flower meadow has been cut – and half collected. Still a lot of cuttings to rake off. Blooming hard work…

We found good frames of honey and plenty of bees which were docile and hardly needed any smoking, which was surprising as it was quite late in the evening.

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Bonnie and Bees

As Janet and Bonnie seemed so keen, firing all sorts of questions at me, I decided to check out the new queen from last week.

I wanted to see how the laying was progressing and check on stores and hive-space.

As it is now getting Autumnal, it would be good to see her build the colony well over the next few weeks in order to get a strong colony entering Winter.

With Janet’s beady eye we found her quickly and although there was brood in various stages over 4 frames, and a decent supply of honey stores, the bees were only covering about half of the 12 frames.

After sleeping on it, I decided today to give the colony a boost by transferring 3 frames of brood from a neighbouring strong hive which was on a double brood (2 brood boxes, stacked on each other, resulting in 1 large strong colony of about 100,000 bees). This hive was bursting with bees yesterday afternoon – at one point I was wondering if it was going to swarm even though it is late in the season. So taking 3 frames of brood out and substituting empty frames should cut the colony strength back,  provide  more hive space and help the new colony develop.

I will revisit both hives in a weeks time.

So thanks Janet and Bonnie – your visit resulted in some fine tuning I would probably not have thought about until later in the season.