I arrived home this afternoon and had just changed when I heard a familiar sound down the garden… the arrival of (another) swarm. I was so excited. I raced down the garden and stood mesmerised watching this cloud of bees descend on an empty WBC. The bees were flying all around me but I wasn’t bothered until I realised I was stood in shorts and top, no bee suit. I decided to withdraw and let them get on with settling in.
I checked my bees at home tonight; the forecast was rain so I was ready abort at any time. But the bees were beautiful! Calm and serene and totally oblivious of my intrusions. I saw all my queens; my Dartington and Octagonal are going great. Nothing quite compares for me and there is no better way to chill out, especially when the bees are so tranquil. As I closed the last hive and walked up the garden down came the rain, but even that felt good. Chilled!
I found another drone laying queen tonight, thats’ the second so far this season (and a couple of other queens are also looking dodgy). It is a painful sight to see drone cappings across the brood for a number of reasons: although a result of the weather (KP!!) it makes you feel a failure; it means the colony is doomed unless you seriously intervene; it can wreck the comb; it can be difficult to find the queen (then you have to cull her!).
I collected a swarm this evening, nicely situated in a plum tree. I have put it into my empty Rose hive, which means I now have Dartington, Top Bar, Rose and Octagonal with bees in to see how they perform. The Dartington has already “vindicated” itself and I am hopeful that the others will be as successful.
Inspections today revealed a dozen new queens laying following artificial swarms last month, but it’s too early to tell that they are mated. I already have a few queens laying and mated, but have 1 hive with a new queen drone laying (she didn’t get mated in time) so unfortunately the colony is doomed unless I intervene (cull the queen and replace her soon). The next few weeks will tell me if the ones seen laying today are okay (I really hope so, though the weather has not been helpful in this repsect – KP!).