Our first hive inspection – didn’t go entirely to plan but we had the result we were looking for.
Upon hiving the swarm last weekend we examined each frame and whilst we found lots of larvae, capped brood we didn’t see the Queen – not easy looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Time comes around for our first examination and frame after frame my heart was sinking. No capped brood – no honey on the first couple of frames. Then.. Honey stores! and then… finally a couple of frames of capped brood and hundreds of larvae. The Queen is there and she is doing her job!
As we move to the centre of the hive – teaming with larvae – and there a false alarm as I mistakenly spotted a drone and then, eagle eye Joan to the rescue… The Queen!
Lighter coloured than I’d imagined but unmistakable. A few minutes watching her move around – her attendants all in tow and she’s busy laying fresh eggs. The tiniest fleck of white egg on the rear of her abdomen – future bees!
Photo credit to Joan for very bravely taking a macro shot (focal length under 6mm!) whilst I was holding the frame whilst clad in my protective bee suit! A prize of a jar of Miel de Bellebouche if you can spot the Queen in that image.
I had hoped to see a baby bee emerging but approaching rain clouds, my smoker running out of steam and a result achieved and we decided to call it a day
And then – OUCH! a sting. My fault, not enough smoking, not enough smooth slow movements. The bee was sat on my thigh and as I bent down to pick something up I squished it and got a little sting through my jeans. I’m quite sure it won’t be the last.
Things I did wrong. LOTS. Too many to list, despite having read up on things time and time again. There’s no substitute for experience but at last, after many years of waiting and wanting – I’ve got my first beekeeping experience under my belt.