These are the days of early dawns and long shadows in the evening. I have just come in from a dander around the cottage and some pottering around the garden. The sky is a clear blue here and the sun is lazy and low over the fields.
Today the little man’s grandparents arrived to drink tea, paint the shed and hang out in the sun. I also took it as an opportunity to check on the hives and introduce my father-in-law to the bees. First we went into the hive that Grelder had swarmed from to find more bees than I thought would have been left behind. Lots of queen cells were left behind, some of which were very obviously emergency queen cells. We broke down all of them but two. I would have liked to leave only one but they were constructed in such tight clusters that leaving one would have risked leaving it damaged. The other hive at the cottage should contain Grelder’s first daughter and she should soon be taking her nuptial flight soon. We stayed away from that hive and did not risk looking in at all. Then we jumped in the car to take a trip up to Grelder’s swarm. Good news; a complete frame of beautiful eggs. Grelder lives and she is busy building her new empire in a far off land (7km away and an extra 100m up).
Back at the cottage I dusted off some old plywood and set myself the task of building a nucleus box (small bee hive). If the two potential new queens successfully mate I might try and take them through the winter. To do this I might have to use nucleus hives as the normal hives may be too big to heat in colder weather. Even if they mate and build large enough colonies which require the larger hives then I have learnt, the hard way, that any spare equipment can be very useful.
Grelder’s eggs are the good news but there is also some bad news. As I put my ear to the side of the hives this evening to hear their beautiful hypnotic whispering my eye caught sight of something that filled my heart with dread.
Some call them winnie’s and some call them pooh’s, but they strike fear into the heart of beekeepers everywhere. I don’t know how I am going to deal with this particular pest, it just feels like it is one thing after another at the moment. They are predators that seek honey, runny honey for their tummy. It’s not funny.