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 A Couple of recently published Papers:

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LINKS to news items:

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“Decisions about a box in swarming mode” - by Malcolm Wilkie

  1. Opening box. What order to examine the bees.
  2. Stores.
    Picture and enlargement Picture
  3. Eggs. You need to be able to see eggs to read your colony correctly. Let the sun shine into the bottom of the frame to give you a chance of seeing them. If necessary use your reading glasses.
  4. Drone larvae.
  5. Eggs and a queen cup.
  6. Larvae. Larger larvae to the left, smaller larvae to the right.
  7. Queen cup and egg standing upright. Laid today!
  8. A congested frame.
  9. Play cup with an egg. Excuse my French!
  10. Another congested frame.
  11. The queen looking for places to lay.
  12. Queen cups.
  13. Have you hatched a plan?
  14. Explanation of a frame. Sealed brood, arc of pollen, honey, larvae, Queen cups.
  15. A pollen bank. Temperament of a nice colony.
  16. Discussion of what to do.
  17. Discovery of a charged queen cell. Notice small “c” shaped larva swimming on a pool of royal jelly.
  18. The queen found and put in a clip. Notice the blue dot.
  19. Chaos. Now the queen is in the queen clip all frames can be shaken and all queen cups/ queen cells destroyed.
  20. The brood nest has been split with two pieces of foundation. The clean frame(marked 2019) can be easily seen. The other frame is three frames in from the front of the box. This was already in the hive at one end but has now been moved in order to split the brood nest and give the bees work to do drawing it out. I stress this can only be done with a really strong colony.
  21. How to keep the bees busy in the supers.
  22. Putting an empty super above the brood nest.
  23. Frames full of nectar.
  24. Checkerboarding. Trying to keep the bees busy and take their minds off swarming. Notice how Lesley manages to hold both hive tools in one hand. It is possible!

 Malcolm Wilkie - 12th April 2020

Just a warning to everyone that we are experiencing a huge nectar flow. Temperatures have jumped, trees are in flower, the ground is still moist from all the winter rains and the bees are busy.

Brood nests are becoming nectar bound. The bees are trying to create extra space and building comb. Remember that bees can fill a super in two or three days if they are a big unit so you may need to go back, check them and add an extra super.

Helen Hadley, our honey queen, is running around like a madman. She has large Buckfast colonies and they are already congested. Look at the photos.

The bees have even started putting eggs into Queen cups.

That means that because the box has been congested they have decided that they had better build queen cells and swarm.

She is going to have a devils own job to put them off. Once bees start preparations for swarming it is difficult to make them change their minds.

I have been helping Morris McGowern with his bees. On Tuesday he had half a colony of bees. There was at least six frames of space. Today the box was completely full of bees and all the frames were full of nectar. We had to put on a super. Even I was surprised at the rapid growth of this colony. As I’ve said before the difference between a good beekeeper and a bad one can just be a matter of a few days. Go and check your colonies now! I hope you are in time.

Malcolm Wilkie - 9th April 2020