Chronicles of a Novice Beekeeper – Ep.9

For two weeks following July’s drama, all three colonies progressed smoothly. The swarm I received in late June is continuing to do well. This colony has built up strongly and they have drawn out nearly nine frames of foundation. The only issue I have with them is their temper, they can be quite moody.

The new queen that emerged last month from the queen cell is also doing well. Her colony is very calm and productive. I was able to mark her around two weeks after she hatched (and I’m pleased to report that I didn’t make a mess of it!)

My original queen has failed. Her bees never got on with her. At one point, I left eleven days between inspections and when I returned I found two queen cups with eggs in them on one frame and two capped queen cells, side by side on the next frame. There was a queen cup on the top of this frame too.

I let the bees proceed with a supersedure as they’ve been trying to replace this queen since I picked them up. In spite of the queen being a young queen from 2018, I think they needed to replace her in order to strengthen their colony before winter. I’m hoping that at the next inspection (tomorrow), the new queen will have successfully mated… If not, this colony may be in trouble!

A fortunate aspect of being on an allotment is that there are many people keeping an eye out for pests such as wasps. Two weeks ago, a large wasp nest was destroyed after being found in a tree on the allotment border. I’ve also put some wasp traps up near the apiary…the combination of sliced apple and cola marinated spam seems to work very well! It’s shocking the number of wasps caught. I’ve reduced all the entrances to the hives to help the bees defend themselves.

Denali Enns

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