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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Where is the queen?

The queen is in there somewhere!

But I'm not experienced enough to spot her in a broiling mass of bees on a frame.

I have opened the hive a couple of times and looked for eggs.  They're there - but very hard to spot, especially with my bi-focals.  And there's quite a bit of uncapped brood - ie. eggs that have developed into larva in cells, but the cell has not yet been capped by the workers.

If I could find the queen, I might be able to mark her.  But a) I can't see her (she may be lurking on the floor of the hive); and b) even if I could, I wouldn't know how to.

Lots to learn.

Problems with wasps

It's now August and wasps are sniffing around the hive.  I have seen a few in mortal combat with my bees, and the wasp is usually the winner.

I've set up a wasp trap and it seems to be collecting a good number of the stripey little b**tards!

I have my hive!

I got my first colony from Deborah, a local beekeeper.  It's quite a small colony - about 4 frames of bees, so I needed to build it up.

I fed the colony with sugar syrup - one kilo of white sugar to 0.5 litre of water - and was amazed that they ate that within two days and then proceeded to eat a kilo of sugar a day.

Well, I say "eat". I mean "store" and "use".  When I opened the hive after about two weeks, the bees had drawn out quite a bit of the additional foundation that I had added and created a lot of capped stores (ie the sugar put into cells in the comb and sealed off, for later consumption).