Bee Keeping update July 2021

Parish Bee update 15th July 2021 : Both our hives suffered over the Winter months resulting in hive 5 being reduced in size to a small nucleus hive. Hive six still had quite a lot of activity so it was hoped it would recover without any intervention. Recently, on one of our weekly inspections, we found the Queen from hive 5 dead, and no newly hatched replacement Queen could be found. So, we ordered via post a newly mated Queen together with 4 attendants who feed and groom her on the journey. We had to release these attendants without losing the Queen as their pheromones would cause them to be attacked by our bees. Unfortunately, when we opened the little plastic cage to release them, they all (including our expensive Queen) flew off! The new Queen (Winifred) had flown into the hive, and we were able to catch her. She was put into a little cage with fondant at the base, a hole was poked into the fondant so the hive bees would start to eat it and so release the Queen. This happens over a few days which allows the bees to get used to the smell of the new Queen and hopefully accept her. The hives were inspected on 13 July, the bees were busy bringing in pollen, we could see the Queen but there was no sign of her having laid any brood. We are hoping by next week’s inspection she will have been busy laying. Hive 5 had lots of activity and surprisingly some brood. We suspect that the old Queen from hive 6 had gone on her mating flight before settling into hive 5. We couldn’t see her but there was definite evidence of a Queen in the hive.