Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Beekeeping update

I've had the bees for 3 weeks now, and they have not given up on me in disgust yet, which is good!
Comb with Queen, bees, pollen and brood.
As I explained in my previous bee-post, I didn't manage to spot the queen when I installed the bees, but I did manage to see and identify her on my first inspection. She was supposed to come ready marked, but she isn't (or perhaps her workers have cleaned the marking paint off her).  She's also much yellower than I had expected, having seen much darker queens in the other hives I have seen.

But I did feel very pleased with myself when I managed to identify her! 

It was fascinating, too, to see the different colours of pollen as the bees bring in stores - if you look at the photo above, you can see one cell with bright orange pollen in, which I believe is likely to be dandelion pollen, for instance.

Newly drawn comb with eggs
The bees have also been busy as, well, bees, 'drawing out' wax into new cells to fill with stores and new bees - I was very impressed to be able to see the teeny tiny eggs in the new cells - clearly Her Majesty is hard at work!

I have also now received my first bee-sting (not something to celebrate, but I suppose it can be seen as  a rite of passage of sorts.

I had a bit of a wobble this weekend, as when I went to see them on Saturday they appeared to be much less mellow and chilled out  than they have been until now, but happily another local beekeeper came to inspect them with me, which was very reassuring.(We didn't either of us manage to spot the queen, but she was obviously there, as there were plenty of new eggs!)

I have added a Super to the hive - this gives the bees more space to keep stores, particularly honey, but the queen cannot get into it so she stays in the bigger brood-bx down below and keeps laying eggs. I am not really expecting to be able to harvest any honey this year, as it is the first year, as the bees will of course need stores to keep them going through the winter, but who knows? If they have a good year, they may have some honey to spare for me!

No comments: