About three weeks ago, I found one swarm cell in this colony, so I performed an artificial swarm. The problem was I could not find the queen, which isn't great It was on 4 boxes to start with.
So I took the swarm cell and some brood and stores and left it on the original site (which is where the floor is in the picture) in 1 box and the other 3 boxes I moved to the left of the original position and turned it round 180 degrees and was confident the queen was in these three boxes
On the original site I also added another brood box because I "assumed" lots and lots off flying bees would go back there. A week later I went back to check on my success story to find that in the box on the original site there was hardly any bees never mind 2 boxes worth and all the flying bees had found there way back to the original queen that I didnt find in the box I moved.
Out of annoyance all I could think to do was merge all the boxes back together to make this monster you see below. Doesn't it look so serene. It didn't stay that way.
|National Hive made up of 5 brood boxes|
Any how as I was going through I was very happy to see that there was an awful lot of bees in these 5 boxes. As you can see below. Note the flying bees in the background. There was lot of flying bees about
|Apis Millifera in a National Brood box|
This is a close up shot of one of the frames out of the box. I have a small metal grab that I can pinch them whilst in the box and lift them out. It is so so. I don't use it much but it is great for when I want to take pictures.
|Single National hive frame and brood|
I shortened the stack of 5 to 4. The bottom box on the right had the least in with about 3 frames not being used at this end. The second and third boxes were full of bees and the top box once I merged it with the fifth box that I took away had quite a lot of honey in it but still had spare frames in. Over all, a very strong colony with lots of potential. Although I will say a bit feisty and they do tend to follow which is not a good trait in bees at all.
|Open National hive - 5 boxes now down to 4|
In the end it worked out well. The queen cell I had seen 3 weeks earlier I now believe to be a supercedure cell. Temporarily splitting the colony did not appear to harm it in any way. There was no more supercedure queen cells or swarm cells on this inspection. However if they only had one supercedure cell as appeared before then in this box of bees that could prove extremely hard to spot.
By the way I have other strong colonies in the apiary. The shot below is one after an inspection as they have a tendancy to pour out of the hive
|Apis Millifera - The Western Honey Bee|
I will say it is all good fun.
Weather at South Kirkby today was cool at around 15 degrees Celsius. It rained in the morning on and off but in the afternoon during this inspection it was bright, clear and reasonably warm. It took a couple of hours to to do some quick and detailed inspections across 7 boxes of bees at various strengths.
Once I had finished, I took my veil off and it indeed does make you sweat