First inspection of 2016

I know that I have some audacity calling myself a 'blogging beekeeper' when my last post was a year ago! But I do have a small excuse, as in a small baby. Mylo arrived in May and literally turned my world upside down. In between the crying, feeding, changing, sleep deprivation and all those things that come with being a new parent, the bees were somewhat neglected. They didn't cause any trouble during the season and just got on with it (I think they knew). They even provided a delicious harvest in the Autumn. (If any of my friends are reading this, sorry that you didn't receive a jar but I needed the sugar).

We've had a cold spring and although I've walked up to the hives at the bottom of the garden a few times I haven't gone in other than placing some fondant (bee food) on the top of the frames and dosing them with varroa mite treatment. But with bright sunshine this morning and highs of a sweltering 14 degrees (this is the UK and that is classified as warm, sadly), I decided I would go into the hives while the boy napped after lunch.

The Beehaus first with its one colony. Lots of flighting outside with bees laden with pollen going in. This is a good sign as baby bees are fed pollen which means the queen must have over wintered and is laying.

Roof off and they have certainly munched their way through some of the fondant.

When I removed the fondant I saw that the bees have built a 'comb stairway' to reach inside the bag.

A closer look at the comb stairway.

I then started working through the frames. Essentially I'm looking for a good laying pattern by the queen and any signs of disease. On the second frame I pulled out I spotted her royal highness. It's not a great image but you can see her just scuttling away at the bottom of the frame.

All seemed to be good with the frames with the brood cells looking to be a nice biscuit colour. In all the beekeeping literature they tell you to look out for this biscuit colour. I think a pantone colour reference would be more beneficial as biscuits come in various shades.

While lifting out the frames, my gloves got covered in propolis (bee glue). Beekeeping is a sticky business.

More frames with a good brood pattern.

Spot the bee dusted in pollen. She must have had a good rummage in a bloom.

A close-up from the top where you can see the foragers who have come back with full pollen sacs.

Lots of activity outside the poly hive. In fact, more so than the Beehaus.

This colony had also made some pretty good headway into the fondant.

Went in from the left and as I removed the first two frames I knew we had a problem. A slug problem. Gross! There were loads on the wall and on the floor underneath they had been oozing out their poo. I scrapped them off together with their poo. What do I do about this?

As I removed a few more frames it became obvious that the slugs weren't causing too many problems. In fact, it became evident pretty quickly that this colony is a lot further along than the Beehaus one. The queen is a prolific layer and many of the frames are filled with brood.

Although I didn't spot her, she was laying in a good brood pattern and there were some drone cells being laid too.

I even saw a baby bee hatching from her cell. You can see her eating her way out on the right and another about to come out in the middle. On this frame you can also spot some white, curled up larvae. That's a great sign. She's a good queen this one.

On the last frame there were two slugs. I wasn't sure what the bees were doing about them but I thought I'd do them a favour and scrape them off. Yuck! Imagine being a bee and coming home to find a slimy blob that's about five times the size of you hanging out in your living room.

I've missed spending time with the bees so it was great to visit today. So pleased that they seem to have over wintered well and there is one queen that is taking her royal duties rather seriously. Will have to assess the Beehaus queen on my next visit and see whether there's a problem.

I'm also moving the hives soon. I found a lovely out apiary nearby in a lady's garden. I do love having them but my son will be toddling in the summer and I'm not sure babies and bees mix all that well. Although he has enjoyed sitting with me on sunny days watching them go in and out the hives, he'll enjoy it less when he toddles over to them one day and sticks his head in the entrance. 


  1. Hi, enjoyed reading your post! I am hoping to move my Beehaus as well this spring (assuming I can find a new apiary site). Can you tell me more about how you would move a Beehaus? I am a bit daunted...

  2. I've just had a little boy too, ten days ago, so know how crazy it gets. Luckily my hive partner Emma has taken up the slack. Lovely to see your hive doing so well. I always think of the brood as being digestive biscuit colour. How cheeky are those slugs?!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts