bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why I like bees

Today my bees foiled me (again). Two colonies are super-strong for so early in the year. Last weekend, one colony was putting eggs in queen cells. None of the cells yet contained royal jelly, so there was always the possibility that the queen cells might be aborted before they really started.

Since then it has been excellent nectar-gathering weather, so I expected that they might want to swarm before the coming weekend. The books say that a queen cell is sealed eight days after the egg is laid. So today is the fifth, or possibly eighth day after the eggs were laid. And, you guessed it, when I looked, some cells were sealed. Worker eggs were still evident and the bees were calm, so the queen was almost certainly still at home. So, time for a split.

Well, I couldn't find the queen despite three comb scans, so I used the tried-and-tested method of ensuring that the queen was in one brood box, adding another and separating them by a queen excluder. I intended tomorrow to separate the boxes.

One hour later, a swarm appeared about fifty metres from the hive. How could a clipped queen fly so far?

Update: I should have known! After a few hours the swarm went home. Obviously they realised that mummy hadn't come with them. It took a long time for them to find out though!

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Blogger Cat said...

Your post brings to mind the bees, here in the Northeast US it has been so long, with wind and rain and cold too, since we have been able to remove the lid and peer inside that mysterious place,the hive.....Finally spring arrives tomorrow...

5:26 am  

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