Going into 2019 I had ten colonies in my chemical free apiary.
One colony came out of the winter without a queen.
One of the swarm hives was very weak and has been given extra brood.
I took out the 'old' queen from the other swarm hive and moved it to the new orchard apiary. That made the bees very angry. Some of the queen cells from that hive were put on the hive that came through the winter without a queen.
One of Hive1's colonies has been shook swarmed and sold.
The three Hive1 2018 queened colonies remaining (at the start of May) have supers on.
The two Hive2 2018 queened colonies have supers on.
The colony I called Hive1 turned into four colonies during 2018 and they all now have 2018 queens. The plan for those is to remove and monitor at least some of the mites during in the season and to compare each for honey production.
H2 general inspection
H1 general inspection 2nd July
H1-4 General inspection 2nd July Eggs and brood, no signs of swarming.
H1-3 Follow up inspection - just to be sure that the new queen has united with the old colony OK. Yes all seem happy. Food gone new wax made. One frame of brood removed.This queen is from a selected line of 'gentle' bees and this colony is likely to have a few frames of brood removed before we get to the autunm.
H1 The original non treatment hive is looking a bit swarmy. It now needs a full inspection next week. I put another super on in the hope that this year's summer flow will need more frames.
H3 sister of H2 First full inspection of the year. The colony still had a super under the brood box that was put there last summer with honey in it to see them through the winter. That super was empty.
Hive2 had eggs in cups and a queen cell under production today. I couldn't find the quuen to remove her - so I removed the frame with the queen cell on and two other frames of brood and two super frames of stores and put them in a polynuc that in turn I took away to another apiary.
Uniting bees Colony Hive1-3 that had the queen removed and the bees drained from it's supers didn't have any emergency queen cells. I had been feeding the bees to keep them going in what hasn't been good flying weather. Using the newsapaper method I put a brood box on top of the existing brood box with a new laying queen it. Hopefully the bees in the bottom box will want a laying queen and won't kill her.
Checking Hive1-4 for emergency queen cells after the removal of their queen.
Inspection 13th June - Hive1-4
After three days of rain I grabbed half an hour between the showers to have a quick look inside Hive1-4 (the last of the four to be set up last year). All looked OK. I still haven't taken any honey off - so there was no risk of the bees running out of stores during the cold wet days. This hive has had no treatment at all - from setting it up last summer, no treatment in the Autumn 2018 and Winter 2018/9 and now none through the Spring 2019. The bees have been keen to make honey and given better weather I believe would have made a good spring crop for me to harvest.
Hive1-3 after the clearer board had removed the bees from the supers.
I inspected the Hive1 colony that had a queen from selected stock. There were five supers on above the brood box and there were a few drones cells in the top supers but no worker brood. In two of the supers nearer the brood box were two frames (in separate supers) with three queen cells on each. These were removed. The queen was found and also removed. The crown board was put on top of the brood box with the feeder hole uncovered and an empty super on top of that with a clearer board between that and the supers with honey in.
Honey taken (from the hive with the queen cells) - bucket of feed put on. As I had used a clearer board over an empty super leaving the hole in the crown board fully open I expected the bees to go into the brood box again. But of course they had no queen and I found most of then on the underside of the clearer board. Which I turned upside down at the hive enrance - see photo.
On reflection I think I found these bees in the first stage of the superseedure process and they would have been quite OK if left them without an inspection at all.
Hives 2 and 3 have sister queens
First full 2019 inspection for hive 2 4th June I took out two frames from the brood box - one was a frame of drone brood - the other a frame of capped brood. I put in one blank frame and one drawn out super frame. There is honey thats needs to be taken off.
First full inspection 21- 5-2019 The hives have been left to get on with it to make honey this year.