News Item: One of our Queens to the rescue ...
(Category: Our bees)
Posted by sally
Saturday 03 August 2013 - 22:39:55

New beekeeper Sue had a queenless colony. We visited her apiary a couple of weekends ago to confirm and had hoped to find a ready solution that day when we went on to our own apiary. Things are never as simple as we hope of course and we found the 'target' queen to be a drone-layer. So, that wasn't going to work. Sue was getting a little worried about her queenless colony and we had another possible solution ...

The weekend forecast was a little mixed but we ended up with quite a nice sunny Saturday. So, I arranged to meet up with Sue and take her over to Green Lane to source a new queen. It meant we both missed the association meeting but at least Sue is a lot happier and tells me that she learnt a lot!

It was quite windy when we got to Green Lane but inside our apiary there is a little protection from the wind and all seemed good although with the clouds moving so fast across the sky, the light was either extremely bright or dark so not the easiest to see into cells.

The plan was to take away the new queen and a retinue from colony three and unite any remaining bees with one of the other colonies. There would be honey to remove too.

We had last inspected that colony 13 days ago and saw the new queen who was on 2 frames of brood. As the colony had swarmed and this new queen had only just got started, they had more space than they needed. She had inherited a double brood and there were 3 supers (one had been a half brood earlier in the season). We knew the top super would be ready to remove so took that off and put it, covered up, outside of the apiary in the hope that the number of bees would reduce and we could easily take it away later.

We then removed the two remaining supers and piled them up behind the hive and the second  brood box we put beside them.

So, into the brood nest now. Luck or skill - not sure - but I spotted the queen on the first frame. The light conditions meant I couldn't really see much in the open cells but as we'd got the queen we put her straight into a nuc box along with two further frames of brood and two additional frames with a little stores. We were then left with 5 frames which were very little used with nothing much on them so, with the queen secure in the nuc box - with the entrance closed and travel screen in place secured with masking tape - and the whole lot stored safely in the back of the car, we set about uniting the second brood box and one super above colony 4. Colony 4 already had a super which the bees had hardly touched so we were able to remove that one. Any further bees we shook into the top and removed hive 3.

So, that just left us the honey to sort. David and I have this down to a tee now so I explained the routine to Sue and we used a spare super in the boot of the car to add in the frames one by one as I brushed off bees and handed each frame to Sue to take to the car. A very full super with lots of lovely honey.

After a little tidying we had the removed hive stored in the corner of the apiary with the redundant brood box inside and had a nuc of bees, super of honey and an empty super in the back of the car.

Then it was over to Sue's apiary ...

This news item is from Beesmith
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