I'm trying to go for more of a defined format for today's inspection report so I can compare these reports better through time to show me how things are going.
Config: stand, mesh floor, deep brood box, queen excluder, brood box, super, glass crown board (see picture), roof.
Inspection: 2 frames of brood in the new deep brood box, eggs even laid on barely drawn comb, queen seen with her green dot nearly warn off. Old brood box (above queen excluder) one third full of honey, couple of drone brood cells. Super packed with honey - only 1-2 frames not full. No queen cells seen.
Comments: This queen's prolific laying continues. I just wish her entourage would drawn the comb fast enough for her to lay in, rather than forage and stuff the super with honey though this is nice to see. The old brood box which lies above the queen excluder is now empty of brood save a few small groups of nearly ready drone brood. Honey in this box was all around the edges of frames where it had been when the brood was present, the central cells being empty. In the new deep box things are looking good, except to see the eggs laid in barely ready cells. Steady on queenie! A single standard depth frame is still in the box which will make things messy over time so I'm moving it to this frame to the edge of the box: at each inspection I intend to move a frame from the front of the box to the back and shift the others up. I will do this rather than doing a brood-splitting type exercise since it seems gentler and I've shunted this colony around quite enough this year, thank you. Do I put a new super on? Yes I will do this at the next inspection. Why not do it now? Although the current upper super is full, I reason that the bees have lots of space to store honey in the old brood box and also lots of work to do drawing comb in the new brood box.
To do: respot queen - white this time so I can actually see it with my dodgy colour vision! Put on a new super during the next inspection.
Config: stand, mesh floor, brood box, queen excluder, super, crown board, roof.
Inspection: Good amount of brood, honey and pollen in the brood box, though not much on outer few frames. Eggs, larva and queen all seen. A few patches of honey in the centre frames in the super, tended by a smallish group of bees. No queen cells seen.
Comments: Continues to be much weaker than Amidala Hive, but stronger than I had expected, and good to see the super starting to be put into use. I had considered introducing a few frames of brood from Amidala into Boudicca, but have decided against this for the time being to see how the latter does on its own. As ever, the bees in Boudicca were far more aggressive than their goodie-two-shoes neighbours, but I can't honestly say that even these bees presented much of a problem. Certainly a few were buzzing around me in an "oi what's going on here" fashion, but there were few flying into me and none followed me after the inspection.
To do: nothing.
Oh, and below is a random picture of my kids which I took on my recent volcano-extended trip to Spain. They're looking so happy since their cousin had just crept up behind me and was making faces.
Oh, and lastly some other news is that this morning I did my honey bee presentation to the 200 pupils at the school where my kids go. The children were ages 4-12. The talk went really well. I entered from the back of the audience with lit smoker amply applied as I moved through the crowd, all to Rimshy Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" blaring from the stereo (OK, OK, so it's not the right insect, but it's a fine piece of music and I don't know any honey bee tunes). I gave the same talk as I had previously at another school in January. This involved several videos, a presentation with lots of pictures, a hive (without bees) and a dead varroa ("monster mite") stuck to the middle of a sheet of paper and held up by one of the children. I was also asked loads of questions, and even managed to answer most of them! I'm looking forward to doing more talks to other schools, though have none currently lined up.