On Saturday, Peter came over because we (Alison and I) thought we had noticed a few queen cells in the hive. Drastic action could have been required if this was the case with an artificial swarm being uppermost on the list. As it turned out, we were wrong and what we had seen was a number of drone cells, not queen cells. Ah well, at least we know now!
While inside the hive, we found the queen – and she was marked, with a red dot. This makes her either 2003 (highly unlikely) or 2008 (most likely) which does imply that our swarm of bees used to belong to someone else!
Anyway, a full investigation showed lots of new brood, plenty drones and workers (phew!) and while we were inspecting, the queen laid an egg right in front of us.
They have also drawn out about 6 super frames from bare foundation since the start of the year. There is even honey in some of the super combs already.
They are still surprisingly docile, we basically destroyed their house, and they were not bothered at all.
We now have to check them every 7 days to make sure that they don’t start getting ideas about leaving home. Mind you, we have a new hive sitting right next door to the existing one, so there’s always a chance that they will move in there.