Well hello again. I haven’t written a blog post for ages (not the first time ). Life happened and I let posting slip for quite some time. A lot of things have happened in the mean time. I’m just going to post an abbreviated update of what happened in the time sinds my last blogpost.
My last post was about a new addition to my hives. I had been reduced to a single hive and I bought a 6 frame colony from a friendly fellow beekeeper in my town. Jumping to the following year I still had those two hives and I bought a pure breed mated carniolan queen. “Pure breed mated” means that she is the daughter of a carniolan queen, who herself was mated with carniolan drones. The queen I bought herself had also been mated with carniolan drones. I also bought a virgin carniolan queen and successfully introduced them both into my two remaining colonies, making sure the colonies had been hopelessly queen-less a few days beforehand. This means that they had no way of rearing a new queen by themselves, this makes them more receptive to an introduced queen.
Nice story, the queens came in special queen cages with nursing bees and some fondant for feeding. Before you can introduce her you need to remove the nursing bees (or so I imagined, still not sure). For this you need to open the cover of the cage to let the other bees out, being careful to not let the queen out. You guessed it I let the queen out and away she flew. Hard cash was paid for this queen so I was duly distressed. I sat there in a chair for a while with my head in my hands. Then I heard a distinct buzzing quite different from normal worker or drone bee buzzing. There she was, landing on a chair not far from mine as this was a new location for her. I managed to capture her again without much trouble and was able to introduce her into my hive. Depression averted.
We have now arrived at this year. Both colonies survived the winter. I had them both in polystyrene hives. One colony bigger than the other. The bigger one, with the now mated carniolan queen exploded and soon showed signs of swarming. Par of the course I was to late and half the hive left with the queen. I still created a split from this hive as they were still quite large and I did not yet know the queen had left. The donor colony and the split both managed to successfully create a new F2 queen.
The split from the swarmed hive is now my wife’s hive as she is always so involved with my beekeeping I decided she needed to experience beekeeping more on a first hand basis. She had always had her nose in my beekeeping, opinionated about every decision I make.Maybe she can keep the hives from swarming next year. I also made a split from the second have with the carniolan P queen and put them in a 6 frame hive. So I now, mid July have 4 colonies, one on 22 frames, two on 11 frames and one in 6 frames. I will have to transfer the 6 frame colony to a 10 frame hive before the winter as they are already occupying all 6 frames.
So that was two years in a nut shell. I glossed over many other instances of bee related stress but I will try to update this page more often from now on. See you in the next one.