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Blog – bees, beekeeping & other sticky subjects

How to use VitaFeed Nutri

Straight-forward instructions on how to use VitaFeed Nutri, the pollen supplement that boosts honey bee health, increases brood area and increases honey production.

Singing queen silenced

Removing the queen larva

The observation hive is back in action and the queen has been singing — quarking, if you prefer — but then she abruptly stopped.

A frame with a sealed queen cell had been installed in the observation hive and a queen quickly emerged. Running around the hive she was buffeted by the workers and returned the compliment clambering on some of them, feelers flying. (Workers are impatient with virgin queens and urge them to go and get mated!) Mostly the queen tried to stay outside the loose cluster to have some peace and quiet.

She was quarking frequently and then I saw the reason — another sealed queen cell. After about a day, the workers unceremoniously tore down that second queen cell and removed the developing white larva. Not following the text books, they didn’t tear it down at the side, but instead attacked it from the bottom dragging out the larva.

An unceremonious royal funeral

After one more triumphant quark (apologies for the anthropomorphism), the queen became silent and work in the office could continue uninterrupted.

The behaviour of the workers to the  queen has become much more deferential over the past day or two, so I expect that she has mated and may even be laying eggs, but they aren’t yet visible.

Turlough
Vita’s Guest Beekeeper Blogger

 

Indecisive bees sit on the fence

East-facing side

I watched a cast swarm emerge yesterday and debate on which side of a newly installed fence they should hang up.

First of all, they flew high above the garden looking as if they would depart high up in a birch tree where a previous swarm had landed.

So, I thought I would try hanging a Vita swarm lure on the clothes whirlygig in the garden. Immediately the garden air was suffused with the beautiful scent and soon afterwards the bees did indeed descend back into the garden, flying lower and lower until they finally settled on the garden fence.

But which side of the fence? The debate went on for about 30 minutes until they decided on the shady west side (it was 11am). At one point I even saw the queen marching along the top of the fence (but sadly the photo I rapidly took of her is grossly out of focus).

West-facing side

The bees are now safely re-homed and I’ll be trying the Vita swarm wipe  as a last-minute lure next time I see a swarm.

And I’ll be hoping that the fence will become the favoured place to hang out!

Turlough
Vita’s Guest Beekeeper Blogger

Do workers move eggs – evidence!

Can bees can move eggs around a colony? It’s often a subject of debate.

Until this weekend, I had never seen any convincing evidence of it, but then I saw this as I was extracting the spring harvest:

 

Even though a clearer board had persuaded nearly all the bees to leave for the super and brood box below, some persistent bees stayed on. On an adjacent frame I found a smattering of drone brood — and then the queen cell on this frame.

Was it just a play cup taken a bit too seriously or was there anything in it?

There she was! A developing queen pupa.

I can’t be certain which colony the super had come from, but I knew for certain the apiary and that only one colony was appeared to be in queen-cell making mode. The queen had been removed to another box, so I must assume that after her removal the bees decided to move an egg up into the super and make it into a queen. When the queen was in the hive, a queen excluder had been in place.

Turlough
Vita’s Guest Beekeeper Blogger

The Asian hornet in action

With another sighting of an Asian hornet in England and its spread throughout western Europe, here are some action photos courtesy of Michel Duret and our colleagues Apinov in France.

And there is an Asian hornet trap — Apishield.

 

Photos courtesy of Michel Duret and Apinov

 

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