Better news at Kenwood Apiary this week. I have a new queen and there are eggs and larvae at all stages. Lets hope that this queen stays and the colony now puts their energies into building up numbers and stores so that they are in a strong position to over-winter. If they have some surplus honey for me then that is a bonus and at least what I deserve after the run-around they have been giving me.
The other hives in the apiary seem to be calming down. The apidea mating hive we created seems to have produced a new queen and the nucleus hive too. Now we need to see if the queens have been properly mated and are laying copious numbers of workers. Last year because bad weather delayed the nuptial flights many people ended up with drone laying queens resulting in colonies needing re-queening and delays in brood and low honey production.
Yesterday at home we had hide and seek again. I went through the frames in the brood box twice and could not find the queen. This time I used a tea towel over the frames each side of the one I was inspecting to keep it dark as the queen runs from the light. There had been a build up of free-form wax like the Metropol Parasol in Seville and they are not even Spanish bees! I had left it for 'sacrificial drone brood' to cull varroa mite that gravitate to these cells but the bees had not got this far and a piece broke off and fell on the hive floor. After not finding the queen I sent my husband for the barbecue tongs and managed to fish out the broken comb and was stung through my glove - comb and sting both removed successfully. The good news is that when I examined this piece of broken comb I could clearly see large and small larvae and then eggs which means the queen must have been around in the last couple of days.
Last week somebody told me to smoke the top as well as the bottom of the hive to drive the bees down making it easier to examine the frames. Today somebody said not to as it may have driven the queen down ................ It is so difficult being a novice as everyone gives advice, often conflicting. I have come to the conclusion that the only ones who know what they are doing are the bees!
Must get the photographs sorted o