The good beekeper keeps a close eye on his or her bees, carefully checks the weight of the hive during the winter to make sure they aren't starving, and pays particular attention during May for 'tis the season to be swarming. It will come as no great surprise to my readers that I don't fit this category: my bees mostly look after themseleves at the bottom of the garden with minimal attention from me. But come the end of the Rape season, which is just about now, the honey has to be taken off before it sets solid in the hives. So I borrowed my jacket back off Nikola and set to removing the supers. I only seem to have two on at the moment, probably a mistake because they were both packed full. I imagine my bees have probably swarmed at some point.
However, the point of this was the picture of a frame, above, which from its geometry you will immeadiately see is a super frame, and yet it has brood in it. Oops. Although the "arc" pattern is rather good. This means, I can only suppose, that the naughty queen has wriggled through the queen excluder and ventured upwards where she should not be(e). About three frames were heavily brooded - one even had a queen cell on it. The photo shows a few cells sticking out - those are drone (male) cells and somewhat bigger. The others are workers. The sides have capped honey, which is what should be everywhere. The problem with the brood is that it makes the frames hard to spin - no one wants icky white bee larvae in their honey, especially since they are rather fragile and tend to explode into goo.
Um, did I mention that my honey is for sale, just Â£3 / lb if you're in the Coton area. [Update: I should point out that the honey I sell really doesn't have any larvae in it, since frames like tha above simply can't be spun -W]
I didn't know you were an apiculturist!
[Ha ha, no, I'm a beekeeper :-)
This might be a good place to link to http://williams-bees.blogspot.com/, though it doesn't look like I am maintaining it :-( -W]
William, how are you dealing with Varroa these days? Is it under control (as the healthy brood and good crop seems to suggest)? What's your secret? Oxalic acid? Queen trapping? screens? Drone brood destruction? All these things?
Just wondering 'cos I fear I've failed with mine :(
[Sorry about yours. It doesn't seem to be too bad around here. I just do whatever I'm told, which last year was a treatment with some stuff whose name I've fvorgotten but can as a jell in little pans, you had to peel the lids off, and do the treatment twice. Oh yes: apiguard: see http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/10/bee_blogging.php -W]
Fantastic blog! Thanks for the info!