Also know as “come on queeny, go and get mated and get on with it”.
It has been a while since I saw an egg in any of my hives, and today is mating day, woo woo… It has been 6 days since a swarm emerged and I caught and boxed it shortly after that; and its been 6 days since I watched a queen emerge that I introduced to my Apidea mating hive. Added to that the weather has just rocketed in temperature and the bees are out in force.
Today I visited one apiary and removed the queen excluder that I had placed there when I put the swarm in its new brood box last week. They have done very well, pulling out nearly all the comb in the box. Unfortunately they mostly ignored the food I gave them to do this with, instead choosing to forage for the food first and then build comb. I should not begrudge them I guess, I’m sure eating all the nectar around to make wax with is much tastier than sugar syrup. I’ve STILL not seen a queen, but she must surely be there, it was a swarm after all. They’ve been making pickled pollen and storing nectar / sugar in the cells so I’m sure they have a good reason.
With that inspection in mind I think I have decided I don’t like the national brood frames, they are so dinky in size compared to a commercial so far less efficient for me and the bees.
And I’ve checked in my mating hive, and she’s certainly not in the queen cage, so she must have been released and integrated herself into the hive. The bees seem happier too, less flighty when I opened the roof, and they are building out the third frame in the box with comb. I was just about to take it out and put in some pulled out comb for them to help them along and noticed they had started themselves with a lovely white piece of home-made comb in a tear-drop shape. If only I had an extra pair of hands to take photos; well I’ll have to do something about that. I also moved the box to on top of the shed rather than hidden down the side, that way it should get more afternoon sun; at 4:30 it was already in the shade. In their new position they will get sun ’til 7:30 or so, and its about 3ft above the old position so I’m sure they will have no problem finding it.