Sunday, 17 April 2011

So early this year

It turns out that I've chosen a very bad time of year to be away from my hives. I came back from 10 days in Spain and stole a few hours before heading off to France to check out the hive (Cleopatra) in Buckinghamshire. Not only were there loads of sealed queen cells, but I found no eggs nor even unsealed brood. The queen cells I destroyed all had nearly-ready queens, and in fact one crawled out ready to go. I cleverly caught her in a match-box, but then like the fool beekeeper I am I managed to let her go again (back into the hive) as I tried to catch some more workers in the same box for later use. I left 3 queen-cells to make the colony queen-right again - maybe on reflection I should have destroyed more (all?). Clearly I missed the colony swarming by . . . well, probably by about 7-10 days! It was the first proper inspection I had done on that hive this year. So what I should have done was inspect a couple of weeks ago and spot the queen cells in construction. And that would have been in the first week in April!

It's so early this year. The weather is very hot and dry and the flora and fauna is well ahead.

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