Monday, 12 July 2010

Queen Marking

In a Where's Wally? style exercise me and the beekeeper, Ivor, spent time looking for the two new queens in the YSP hives. He'd previously removed the old queens (and put them in smaller hives to the side) and as we'd seen new queens cells we hoped that new queens had hatched, had mated and were now laying eggs. Ivor is obviously much better at spotting the queens than me (we'd potentially still be there looking) and it didn't take long to find the first one.

He marked her by gently placing a ring with wire front over her to stop her from moving away and then put a dot of bright blue water based ink on her back so that she's easier to spot in the future.

We then had to do it all again with the second hive and find their queen and mark her too.

The weather has been good this year so Ivor mentioned that both queens were doing great by laying so soon - the good weather has meant that both have been able to mate over a number of fine weather days and lay almost as soon as possible. Bad weather can hinder this as she'll not go out in bad weather. The queen has to mate with about 10 - 12 males as she'll not go out again.

Here are the entries to the hive log books:
Hive 1: New laying queen; brood in all stages on 5 frames; queen marked blue; honey super half full.
Hive 2:
New laying queen; eggs and larva on 2 frames; queen marked blue; top brood box full of honey; super full; second empty super added.

One thing to note: I mentioned to Ivor that i hadn't seen so many bees around at the end of June / beginning of July and he said beekeepers call it the June Gap - when all the spring plants and blossom etc have died away but the summer plants aren't quite out fully yet. So, it wasn't the football after all...*

*see Lull blog entry below.

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