Well its been a mixed inspection this time round. Two WBC’s coming along nicely at Hastingwood but in need of some replacement frames. The Queens seem happy enough but the new one needs marking and clipping. On that note I just picked up some little snippers called “deadheads” the other day at Wilkinson’s that will be perfect for the job.
Anyway, the next few hives at matching tye were struggling a bit. One had very few bees and a queen, the other had 4 frames of bees but then emergency queen cells and no eggs. So now I have one fewer colony after a newspaper method merge. Well one was struggling and would have not built up quickly enough to catch the rape crop; and the other would have ended up with a virgin queen with no drones about to mate with.
The last hive on site held a surprise or two though. Apart from being the only hive that seems to be touching the pollen patties, it is also building up wonderfully. Four 14×12 frames of brood, right across the frames; the hive full of bees (and at lunchtime too, so the foragers would have been out) and lovely fresh honey coming in. Won’t be long til they will be needing a super. One little sting to the wrist, but with a result like that who could hold it against them.
On to the last site and, if you can believe it, better news. Seven frames of brood! So, you know what seven is the magic number for, yup, time for the first super of the year, Hooray! One sting from this hive, but what is that amoung such good news.
This year I have some supers that have drawn comb and some with just foundation. I am told that alternating comb-foundation-comb will improve the rate that the foundation is pulled out and so that is what I have done.
The other hive on site was doing well, up to 4 frames, but not quite ready for a super yet.
Both those hives are on standard national frames and I plan to comb change them on to commercial frames. More so that the colonies have made a mess of the combs and the woodwork is old. I may go back to having a couple of standard nationals there another year with some new/repaired woodwork.