On Saturday the first colony of the year started swarm preparations – with nearly-sealed queencells in the hive, so an artificial swarm was carried out. Two days later they decided to swarm anyway – despite there being no queencells in the A/S. This is the sort of thing that the books don’t tell you happens! As the queen had a clipped wing the bees came back and she was seen on the grass just infront of the hive, slimmed down but looking good in the sunlight. I helped her back into the hive. A quick look 2 days further on and she is present, no queencells and the foundation is being drawn ready for her to start laying. I’ll move the queenless part later to gather more of the older flying bees, so with luck I’ll get some honey from this hive.
The queenless part will have a queencell put in from less swarmy stock.
Virgin queens are now in nucs and mini-nucs and are ready to fly and mate. More are due to emerge today or tomorrow. There are plenty of drones in the hives so we just need warm weather before they can mate and thenstart laying.
Now the weather is spring-like and there are a fair number of drones in the hives, I have started queen-rearing by grafting (larval transfer). It’s a much later start than in most previous years. The queencells will be transferred into nucs and mini-nucs in a few days time.
This is the first WordPress post from us. We keep Norfolk Honeybees which make really good honey.
Much has been written in the press recently about honeybee losses. However, if looked after, losses should no be too high over winter in the UK. The weather does play a part and the last 12 – 14 months have not been good for bees. We have fared a little better in Norfolk than in some parts of the country. I am pleased to say that my losses last winter were zero. All colonies got through although one was small but still viable. Hooray! 🙂