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John the BeeMan's Blog - May 2014 - Flowers everywhere & the Inspector calls

Flowers Everywhere (24th April)

Everywhere I look there are shrubs and trees flowering, also many annual wild flowers such as dandelions and comfrey.   The bees are having a field day and I was delighted that most of my colonies are storing plenty of honey.   In fact I am concerned that I may not have enough supers to cope with the flow.

At the Cemetery, I had to check the 3 swarming colonies for further queen cells, sure enough there were several in each hive.   In hive no.1 the Q cell that I had left was still sealed, and as I found a ready-to-hatch cell elsewhere, I opened it and let the queen out into the colony.   In the other two I left the original cells, having removed all others.   Hopefully these three colonies will now process their new queens for mating and will be all set for a productive summer without the worry of further swarming!

The remaining two colonies had no queen cells to be found, so I still have them to keep an eye on them.   The two Nucs were doing well, except I had to feed them as a safeguard.


Frame feeder for the Nuc
Inspection of WBC hives involves more equipment
Frame feeder for the Nuc
Inspection of WBC hives involves more equipment

The Murphy bees were in good fettle with a nearly full super on one and their health looked OK.   The only aspect that I donít like is the new apiary site that I moved them to, as it is mostly in the shade.   There is nothing I can do about this until the previous site becomeS available next year.

Looking for Queen cells
Looking for Queen cells
Looking for Queen cells usually requires some of the bees being shaken off
Dandelions at the Cemetery
Bee on ceanothus
Dandelions at the Cemetery
Bee on ceanothus

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The Inspector calls (29th April)

Caroline Washington asked to inspect my Cemetery bees as there is European Foul Brood close to my apiary.   She went through all 7 colonies, checking all aspects of the brood, both open and sealed.   The good news is that there appeared to be no foul brood.   However she pointed out that there was some 'sac' brood and a few pupae that had had the capping taken off by the bees which proved to be bees with 'deformed wing virus'.   These two problems were minor, but things that beekeepers need to watch out for.

The colonies that showed signs of swarming were on their way to producing the new queens and the odd queen cell was removed as a precaution.   The apidea nuc now has a virgin queen in it which should be mated in the next week or two, depending on the weather.   I havenít decided what to do with her yet.   The comfrey is growing taller and most is as high as the hives.


Inspection for foul brood
Deformed pupae
Inspection for foul brood
Deformed pupae
Queen cell ready for hatching, note the dark lower end.  The bees have removed the wax.
Larva with 'sac' brood
Queen cell ready for hatching, note the dark lower end. The bees have removed the wax.
Larva with 'sac' brood

I'm away for the next week and havenít time to include future jobs and forage information.

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