Our season of Beekeeping practice training sessions got underway on 6th May, the weather was marginal for most of the day but warmed up in the evening just in time for the session to begin. Bees were flying from two hives so these were selected for inspection.
The amazing thing about Beekeeping is that no matter how much you plan and prepare for managing the bee colonies they end up doing things their way and this evening was no exception. Throughout the spring we have been building up colonies 2 and 7 so that we may make increase through Artificial Swarms and on colony 5 we have been performing a Bailey comb change in order to help build up the colony from a weak start.
On inspection 2 had brood across 9 frames and will require more space soon else it may start to prepare to swarm, colony 7 was not inspected. Colony 5 against the odds had a nearly capped queen cell and no queen to be seen (although bags of evidence she was somewhere in the hive). The solution was to split the colony by placing the frame with the queen cell and three others with sufficient bees and brood into a Nucleus box and returning the main hive to a single brood box. As all the flying bees would return to the original hive some young bees were shaken into the Nucleus to ensure there were sufficient remaining bees to nurse the queen cell and rear the brood. Both hives had feeders added to ensure sufficient stores whilst they sort themselves out. Because we could not find the queen we were unsure which hive she ended up in, so next inspection the hive with fresh eggs will be the one where she resides.
All in all a good first session for the Beginner Beekeepers.