NLB logo

NORTH LONDON BEEKEEPERS

BBKA logo

John the BeeMan's Blog - early June 2014 - Laying Workers & Bumble Bees

Around my Apiaries

The last half of May seemed to be the 'June Gap' as there was very little increase of stored honey.   Also none of the colonies wanted to swarm except one that I missed, you canít win them all!   All the new queens are now laying and I plan to use my 2 spare ones to replace old queens.

Queen now laying well in the Apidea
Orange pollen coming in
Queen now laying well in the Apidea
Orange pollen coming in

Go to top sign Go to top.

The Apidea has proved its worth and I put the laying queen in one of the large nucs, ready for uniting.   I have checked this orange pollen on my chart and the only plant it can come from is dandelion (I thought this had long finished?)

I put the floor inserts under several hives to see what dropped through the open mesh floor.   This was mainly for my varroa session last Saturday.   Very few varroa were found, but an amazing amount of pollen loads (what a waste!)

Floor insert after 2 days
Floor insert after 2 days

Go to top sign Go to top.

Laying workers

If your bees have swarmed and the virgin queen fails to get mated, for whatever reason, there is a danger that some of the workers will start laying.   To avoid this, if you are concerned that the queen is in trouble, insert a brood frame with eggs and open brood.   The pheromones from this brood will delay the laying workers.   Also, the eggs can be used to create a new queen if she really has gone.

The signs of laying workers are eggs laid haphazardly in the cell including several in a cell and random cells with mini drones as they will have laid in worker cells.   A drone laying queen will lay in worker cells, but methodically.

Haphazard egg laying can be laying workers or a newly mated queen
Random mini drone brood
Haphazard egg laying can be laying workers or a newly mated queen
Random mini drone brood

Go to top sign Go to top.

Bumble Bees

One of my summer jobs is giving the public advice on bumble bees, their nests and whether they can be relocated if they are causing a nuisance.   I have been inundated with emails and calls and, interestingly, at least half are the recent migrant, the Tree Bumble.   Most of these inquiries result in the person agreeing to leave them alone, especially when I tell them that I charge and many of the nests canít be accessed anyway.

Buff Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus Terrestris - similar to many others!!)
Tree Bumble Bee (note the white tail & ginger thorax)
Buff Tailed Bumble Bee (Bombus Terrestris - similar to many others!!)

Go to top sign Go to top.

Flowers for June

The blackberries are already flowering and the Lime has nearly started, so expect a major nectar flow as soon as the weather warms up.   Have your empty supers at the ready.   On good years my colonies have filled a super in less than a week, and there is nothing more frustrating than the gap between the crown board and roof being filled with wild comb, a real mess.

Rosebay Willow herb and white clover is another flower that is found on the Heath in large enough areas to attract the bees.

Blackberry
White clover

Go to John's Blog main page

Go to top sign Go to top.