It was a busy evening again and luckily the weather was good, all be it a little chilly by the end of the evening.
We started by initiating queen rearing employing the Miller Technique. We chose Hive 7 as our breeder and host colony as it was strong with bees on all of the frames in the Brood and Super boxes. On opening the hive we discovered open Queen Cells so obviously the colony was preparing to swarm, an ideal situation for rearing queens. The queen was removed to a nucleus with along with 2 frames of brood a fresh frame of foundation cut into Miller V’s and a frame feeder. All queen cells were torn down in hive and nucleus and the nucleus was removed to the Nursery for the Miller frame to be drawn out and the queen to lay in. In up to 7 days we should have suitable larvae to transfer the frame back into the original hive for queen cells to be raised.
Hive 9 we intended carrying out an artificial swarm but first we practiced clipping queens by using drones available from the colony. Once we started to look for the queen we found sealed swarm cells and luckily the queen. The queen and a couple of frames were placed in the new hive and the supers placed on that hive. As we had queen cells on two distinct frames and sufficient bees we created two Nucleus colonies and transferred them to the Nursery. Attached are notes on carrying out an artificial swarm, this method can be used for swarm control, making increase and varroa management of an infested colony. The same basic method applies to each requirement.
We carried out a full disease inspection Hive 3 which is coming towards the end of a Bailey comb change. In doing so we discovered sealed swarm cells in the bottom brood box, this was moved to another stand and made up to a complete hive.
Finally last week we placed the bottom brood box from hive 6 in the Nursery to let it create emergency queen cells, it has produced 6 across two frames. As we had seen enough queen cells on this visit it was good to compare swarm and emergency cells. Swarm are generally large and peanut shaped generally along the edge of the frame in large numbers whilst emergency queen cells are small and on the face of the brood frame and have been drawn from worker cells.
The Apiary currently has 8 queen right colonies and 5 colonies with sealed queen cells, it is going to busier with the rape now in full flower all around!