#007 A Healthy Colony

I was on a holiday for two weeks and so I hadn’t checked on the bees for two whole weeks! However, I was confident they were not up to anything exciting (others were worried about swarming as it was warm and the flow was good) because the colony was still quite small. Nevertheless, I was nervous about this inspection because such a big chunk of time should mean a noticeable difference in the population – or something terrible like a mouse or wasps (who knows?!).

I went over to the hive yesterday and it was a fantastic day: sunny and warm. Perfect inspection conditions. Of course, I forgot my boots, but hey! I had socks, that should be ok with my ballerina shoes right ?

Once I started the inspection, I noticed the bees are still adamant about fixing the crown board to the roof and in this heat it is all like glue, sticky and messy. They have been gluing literally everything together, even the super to the brood box, maybe that’s normal though…?

In any case, the bees have been more than ok in my absence, the colony is thriving with brood in every available space, at all three stages: eggs, larvae and capped. I saw young bees chewing through their capped cells and emerging, to be greeted and fed by their sisters. I also saw lots and lots of capped honey, which means that they have been making more they can eat. I am amazed by how much they have grown since I first got them end of May. In practically 6 weeks, they have grown from a 4-frame family to a 14-frame colony.

Of course, I was not able to see the queen again (so elusive) but that is ok because the health of the colony was good. The only thing that puzzled me a little was that there was very little pollen, maybe the queen is a little too efficient in her egg laying and the adults can’t collect it fast enough. I hope it will all balance out as the population grows…

Inspection Results: The queen was not seen but as all three stages of brood were identified, I am not worried. The bees were very well behaved, until they started getting annoyed with me wiping all the propolis off the top of the frames, at which point they were jumping onto my hive tool as if planning to pull it off with their united strength. It didn’t work, but they gave a good fight.

Nothing unusual or worrying was spotted, no queen cell, no varroa, no dead bees under the hive and only one of what might have been a drone cell. Next week I will look out for the queen and for pollen.

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