Compton Verney's newest residents

I am a volunteer beekeeper for Compton Verney, which has only just started keeping bees. Having met its head of landscape and gardens, Gary Webb, on twitter, I am now a proud Compton Verney Volunteer Beekeeper. Compton Verney Grounds has its own blog, which will feature some bee-related posts from yours truly every so often.

There are two volunteer beekeepers - myself and Rod Oates. Rod is really the chief beekeeper who'll be doing most of the inspections and I'll help out when needed. 

Compton Verney's first hive welcomed it's residents just over a week ago and Rod asked whether I'd like to join him this afternoon to go through the hive. I've been really looking forward to it and what a beautiful afternoon it was for beekeeping. 

I was really surprised that Rod didn't bring a smoker to calm the bees down but he said that they were really docile when he visited last - and he was right. 

Rod inspecting the frames. We did spot the queen too, which was great.

Now that is a good brood pattern - something that is not happening in my Beehaus :(

A hive with a view

I also chatted to Rod about my queen situation and showed him some photos. He agrees with what some others have been telling me on my blog and twitter - I need to get a new queen in there asap as my queen is a drone layer (in other words, only laying male brood and not the female worker brood). He was very helpful in suggesting a place where I could go to get a queen in Oxfordshire (the same place where he got Compton Verney's nucleus of bees from so we know it's reputable). He told me I need to act really quickly for risk of losing the colony. There's not much a I can do today and tomorrow as it's a bank holiday but I'll call first thing Tuesday and hopefully get me a queen. (If you are interested - Rod sent me this link to explain why my queen may be failing)

I feel disappointed that I got my bees through all of last year and the winter and now my queen is failing. That means my hopes of early honey are on hold again :(


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