Perhaps I am not very adventurous. Home is important to me and the disruptions at home have been going on far too long!
The heating and associated ground work outside is coming to an end and though we planned it, it is surprising how many aspects have been outside our control.
I’d sewn beefriendly annuals and perennials last September. They were smothered with a pile of topsoil. I’d planted a lavender hedge. That was destined to be moved and I am not sure I have saved any of them. The bees have probably been disturbed by all the noise of the work and at times I have been unable to get down to them. A willow I had recently planted -one of the few things I’d mentioned as something I wanted to keep – was uprooted mistakenly.
The greyness of the mud and soil as opposed to the green of the grass pulls down the mood.
Then to-day, when I could get down to my bees, when it was warm and had been quiet for a day, the sight waiting for me just confused me when I thought I was becoming more knowledgeable and competent.
To remain positive, there are lots and lots of bees and they are alive. That must be a positive. from other comments on line and from other beeks I realised the good weather could mean the bees might run out of space so I had completed a set of frames I could add to a super. There is unsealed brood and I could not see any cells that I was certain were queen cells.
I could put on a show of total bravado, but assuming this site could sometime be useful to another hesitant newbie I think it is important to show that it may not all go according to plan.
I took out two frames. looked like lots of capped stores at the top, capped brood in the middle and some unsealed brood and pollen lower down. the frames are very tight in that box – I really think I must change this and have one fewer with a dummy board. then I could take out the dummy board to give some room for manipulation. I didn’t want to take out a whole frame – though perhaps had I looked at the ends where I’d expect stores not brood I could have done so without risking chilling any brood. However, the bees seemed desperate for space. They were building comb wherever they could – in the holes for the bee escapes and in the roof. In the roof there was some comb swinging quite precariously and i was not sure whether I could see some larvae not in cells – not sure whether this is a really bad sign or whether when the hive was closed up they were enclosed.
So, I have added the super hoping that this will give them space they are craving and that in a few days I’ll be able to ascertain whether space was indeed the real problem.
Perhaps I need also to consider creating an artificial swarm which could double my colonies. I have noticed that the bees have been using lots and lots of water which they use either to help cool a warm hive or to help them eat honey which is quite well set – perhaps ivy honey from last year. Their favourite water supply seems to be the birds drinking bowl. It now has some nice nobbly stones so they can get out and that has the benefit that it creates small ‘pools’ of water.