At last, bursts of sunshine that seem to last longer than fifteen minutes. This gave me a chance to do a much needed hive inspection. During swarm season the advice is to do an inspection once every week to look for queen cells. That is nice in theory, but I am inclined to not open them up in cold or rainy conditions as they do not like this at all and it is not good for morale in the hive. As a result of the terrible weather I have not done a full inspection for quite a long time. I have had a wee look a couple of times, but not a full examination of all the frames.
Today I got the chance and I am glad to say that I saw no signs of any swarming. There was quite a bit of capped brood (bees about to be born into the world) but very little in the way of larvae (little baby bees). The most likely explanation is that the queen went off the lay during the bad weather. The last few frames were the most intimidating to inspect as they got a bit upset about the whole thing by that stage. The air was filled with angry buzzing around me and there was the constant pings of the bees battering my veil. Inspecting them now requires a little more nerve than it did in April. However miffed they seemed by it all, I must admit that they behaved themselves enough not to sting. They will get a feed again tonight as stores are low and lots of comb needs to be built. I will not tell them the real reasons but will instead tell them that they are good little bees and they deserve a wee treat.