The First Honey Crop

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Been a while since I wrote, so here’s a brief update on what’s happened since last time. The artificial swarm was carried out and we watched hopefully for a hatching new queen. We didn’t see her, but we have evidence that she is indeed there and laying. The hive is filling with bees and we have larvae in the cells. The vast majority are worker cells and there are very few drone cells – so it’s looking good for a new laying queen as opposed to a laying worker.

We were in Sardinia for two weeks and on our return, it was impossible to separate the top (two) supers from the main hive. The girls had glued everything together. It didn’t help that I’d lost the hive tool somewhere and it simply seems to have vanished from the planet. I suspect it was beamed up at some point between the hive and the garage!

Anyway, a new hive tool was purchased, and I went in to the hive last night when the weather was quite mild. The new tool was an immense help in separating the two supers and there is currently 16 frames of honey. Three were fully capped off, so I’ve removed those for later. I’ll be putting another three empty frames in to keep the girls busy.

Between the supers, they had built comb from the top of the lower super to the bottom of the frames in the upper one, that’s what made it difficult to split the two. After last night when I scraped off what was bridging the two supers, we have a bowl of wax + honey to enjoy. A bit more work needs doing on this matter, but the girls were getting grumpy and I’d refilled the smoker three times by then, so I decided to let them have some peace and quiet.

The second hive had a plague of wax moth caterpillar, well two of the b*ggers, so I got rid of those. One brood frame was pretty much trashed but it was an old one I fancied replacing as the girls weren’t using it yet – so it’s now gone. I ditched the wax as well it was looking pretty black. (It was one of the original frames we inherited when we got our first swarm from Peter.)

When I checked for varroa, that nasty little mite, the counts were still low. About 4 weeks ago (I know, far too long!) I had 16 on the second hive, but after a fairly liberal sprinkling of icing sugar, we are down to about 3 mites over the 4 week period. The main hive had 1 mite over the same period. I’ve also done a drone cull in the second hive (where the frame came from the main hive – don’t get confused like me!) and there were a few mites present in the drone comb, but nothing spectacular. Yet!

I’ll be keeping on top of the mites on a weekly basis now that the holidays are over.


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