Have you been keeping up to date with our Museum Bee Keeper's diary? Well here is the latest installment of how our bees are getting on:
With a trip to the US meaning I couldn't keep tabs on the bees for three weeks, the other beekeepers are pressed into service to look after the hives. It’s good to know that everything is in safe hands while I’m away, plus my absence gives some of the others a chance to have bit more “bee time”. In the weeks prior to my departure our strong colony was looking very full of bees, with numerous queen cups having been removed and there being a large number of drones (males) in the hive. We knew that there was always a possibility of swarming and in an attempt to curtail this I’d asked my fellow keepers to keep a close eye on the hives and to check regularly as we can’t risk having a new virgin queen hatch.
On the 22nd May, Catalena and Nigel went to check the hives, here is her report:
"Nigel and I went up to see the bees today, It was an overcast day, not raining and not that windy really and the temperature was about 14 degrees. The strong colony was REALLY full of bees and very busy, there were also LOTS of queen cells being made. We removed SIX active queen cells, 2 of which were much longer than the others. Maybe the other 4 were 'suspect dome shaped Drone cells'. There were also lots more empty queen cells (more than 6 others) which I crushed with the hive tool. The hive is just so full we feel sure that swarming is inevitable. There are lots of drones and drone cells too. We considered moving another frame of brood over to the quieter hive, which would be a good idea but decided to leave that for another visit. We cycled the frames in the super, moving the emptier ones to the middle. We spotted the queen with her big green spot on her back, she nearly crawled out of the hive but we spotted her and we were about to catch here when she turned around and crawled back in.
The less productive hive is still very quiet although there were still bees flying out and bringing back pollen. We took the lid off the hive to have a closer look but didn't disturb anything. There is still lots of syrup/honey in the contact feeder and the bees are still using it, so we left it in the hive.
We checked the new hive with the swarm lure inside but unfortunately it is still empty.
On an eventful note, Nigel got stung on the calf by a bee that crawled up his trouser leg! Not nice at all but Nigel can handle pain! I think I would have cried if it had happened to me!"
Keep posted for more news about of museum bees.