Adventures in Bee Keeping (part 1)

The bees arrived a week ago and today was inspection day – the first day this week that it wasn’t raining.
On Monday night, at the Beekeepers Association apiary, I took a shot to the side of the head. I should have been more cautious, there were a few bees flying around my legs but I wanted to drive home so started de-suiting. Within minutes of taking of my veil a bee was tangled in my hair and I was stung just above my left ear.

Pain! Ow! Ow! Ow! Itching, burning, throbbing. In other company I would have let out a stream of obscenities.

So, with this in mind (and my head still smarting) I was a little more cautious opening up my hive.

My bees seem good natured, calm tempered, I wouldn’t say friendly but they don’t seem to be trying to kill me. Clearly they don’t know that I plan to rob them of their honey as soon as I can.

They don’t have much in the way of honey stores yet so I’ve given them a helping hand with some sugar syrup. The picture below shows some capped honey and shiny uncapped stores waiting to be topped up. This will be their food when the flowers are all finished and in my rather inexperienced opinion, what they have isn’t very much.

colour picture showing honey bees on a frame of capped and uncapped homey
I was a little concerned that I hadn’t seen any new comb on my three empty frames last week. It turns out my bees haven’t been lazy this week and are building some new comb, as seen below.

honey bees on a frame of freshly drawn wax comb.
Hopefully the syrup will help them out a bit and enable them to get the other frames filled without any stress.

In addition to all this activity, Queen Bellatrix (named so because she is dark) was in residence, phew, and there are larvae present. I haven’t got my eye in yet for spotting eggs so no idea on that front but queen + larvae is good enough for me today.

When I collected my bees I noticed a little bit of chalk brood. The bees are clearing this away and today I only spotted two mummified larvae so this is looking better.

I was a unhappy to find an earwig nest on one of the empty frames and evicted some of them. I’ve been told earwigs aren’t something to worry about but I think they’re nasty things so will keep an eye on them.

I’ll ponder over whether to feed again next week. I’m hoping they’ll find the heather soon and not need feeding but who knows. The weather has been so rubbish this summer my lavender isn’t even flowering fully yet so I’m not banking on it.


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