As is so often said... nothing is constant and there is always more to learn with bees.
Year 5 of beekeeping starts in November
It’s been an interesting winter.
I was concerned about the reduced bee activity, the nuisance of wasps and then noted robbing from 1 of the 3 hives.
This hive was to be moved to a more favourable location for the sun aspect.
The bees made it easy for me, as I merged this weakened FD hive mid July with the other stronger FD, using the QE/ newspaper method.
Time to start the spring checks...
My favourite 3/4 hive has had plenty of bee activity all winter. I had left it at 3 boxes high.
On checking, they have now reduced the staples over winter to powder. They have a full 3/4 box of 10 frames of capped honey, 1 empty box of clean frames and the middle box of stores, slabs of capped brood, lots of well behaved bees and a busy queen.No drone brood or play cups.Nothing for me to be concerned about. Sugar shake revealed X1 varroa. New staples placed on frames 3,5,7, and 9 on alternating sides.
Fresh hive base, boxes cleaned up, spring cleaning complete.
The hive inspection confirmed the happy bee activity I had observed.
The merged hive..you win some and you loose some...
The bees had chewed through the paper.. no sign of the merged queen, no brood, no stores... hmmm
Bottom box... needed sorting out, evidence of old supersedure Q cells Time for some frame replacement and to reduce them down to X1 box.
New base board, clean box and then to sort out the frames. Sugar shake = no varroa. Interesting their staples were pretty much intact, but due for replacement.
Stores, brood and old queen...good bee numbers. A few frames over..another unmarked queen. Initially I thought the merged queen had squeezed through the QE.
However, she was a stripey red dot marked queen. This is a black unmarked queen. Also the supersedure cells would indicate a new autumn mated queen. Interesting.
Nothing like a bit of beekeeping to keep you thinking on your feet...what to do?.
Old Queen with brood, plenty of bees, stores and 2 new staples were moved further along.
The new queen, stores and drawn out frames were reduced to a Nuc box and left on the old site...
There is now plenty of noted bee activity from all 3 hives...
Significant other said today... you’ve still managed to maintain 3 hives