Apiary Visit 19th April

It was just of a week since the Bailey comb changes and Shook swarm were initiated at the Apiary opening day so we had a bit of follow up work to do.

First we removed the bait frame from the Shook swarm which was carried out on Hive 4, the frame was fed to the chickens! This colony is relatively small as would be expected and will be an ideal training colony. We removed the Queen Excluder from below the Brood Box and placed it above with a super on top.

The three Bailey comb change hives each had the queen laying in the top box so she was trapped in with the addition of Queen Excluder below the top box. Supers were added to each hive so as to encourage the colonies not to lay down stores in the bottom Brood Box. The queens in Hives 1 and 6 were marked Blue, it was the first time the queen in 1 had ever been spotted and no wonder she is jet black! Hive 6 was showing signs of Varroa, high drop count and deformed wing, so the bottom Brood Box was removed to another stand creating a form of Artificial Swarm. This action does a couple of things, reduces the population of varroa significantly as all the sealed brood is in the bottom box and in the removed box disrupts the varroa life cycle since there will be no new brood in which the varroa will reproduce for a month or so.

The varroa drop count on all the other colonies in the apiary was extremely low to insignificant.

Of the other colonies we have mixed bunch:

– Hive 2 is showing swarming tendencies, tore down open queen cells, need to do an Artificial Swarm on 27th April

– Hive 7 doing really well with two supers of uncapped honey, 3rd super added

– Hive 8 has a red queen and is not progressing well, she will need to be superseded

– Hive 9 doing well and busy

The rape in the adjacent field is now coming into flower. With weekly training sessions starting on 27th April we should be able to keep on top what is already looking like a busy season.

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