Visit four: First full inspection of the year.

Ah ha! No bee stings today! Well except I kind of cheated, I didn’t inspect the hive that has done for me before. I was a bit tired after the first seven.

My inspection was last Tuesday, the temperature at the apiary was recorded as actually reaching 16C. Since then the temperature has crashed, raining and today snowing with temperatures of -0.5C. Hence I have not had chance to go back to the hive that stings, ‘Waldorf’

First inspection and what did I find? Every hive has made it through the winter, Hooray!

Every hive is starting to build up brood, with anything from half a frame to three frames of brood, in all three states of progress (eggs, larvae and capped brood). I should be happy, but my favourite, ‘Danish lady’, is the least progressed of all at only half a frame of brood. I was a bit suspicious that I might even have seen a cell with a dead larvae in it. I shall watch that one carefully to see how they progress. With the up and down weather we have been having anything could have caused it, so I am crossing my fingers. I just wish she had put on bigger numbers by now, I want to use her for a queen rearing course I am undertaking in summer.

I was going to be putting on some pollen patties that I made last year, and have been in the freezer since. I want to build up the numbers to take advantage of the rape seed (canola) fields that will be around in a month. I was lucky I chose to inspect first, as the delays have caused me not to feed them up right before the cluster they must be im now due to the weather. I hope they are managing to keep that brood warm, especially in the two national hives with two and three frames of brood respectively.

As for feeding the hives, well, all but one hive had significant amounts of stores; and I mean like six frames worth. So they were in no ‘apparent’ danger of starvation. Why did they scoff so much fondant? Well, I guess it was more accessible for them, some of them even stored it in frames.

In conclusion, all is well, with one to watch carefully, just in case. I will keep my fingers crossed.

In other news, in just under two weeks, I am taking another bee exam. This time BBKA’s module 1 “Honeybee management”.

Wish me luck.

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