Due to being busy and tired I have not managed to write up my last 2 inspections, so I’m going to try and cover my last 3 inspections in one go.
The nuc I created has a laying queen and has gone to its new owner. Hive one has largely filled all the foundationless frames with comb.image I’m a bit disappointed with this, as the bees have built the combs at a slightly different angle to the frames. This is entirely my fault as the hive was not level, the bees have gone straight down, but the frames did not. At my last inspection I added a 3rd super as the other 2 were filling up.
The brood box above the Snelgrove board now has a laying queen, so my plan is to re queen the swarm hive with this queen. I had read about introducing a queen by simply removing the old queen and placing 6 frames (including queen) into the queenless hive. I also sprayed all the bees with a weak sugar solution, in the hope that by the time they had cleaned themselves up they would except the queen. This failed! On my next inspection the queen was gone and the bees had started to make queen cells. I have another queen who I will introduce using more tried and trusted methods.
Hive 2 swarmed in May, it now has a laying queen, I’m not expecting much honey from this hive for the rest of the year unless we get a really good July.
Hive 3 has been giving me concern a couple of times this year regarding varroa, drone brood uncapping in May didn’t show any in 40 drones. However recently I saw a drone emerge from its cell carrying a varroa mite. imageDue to the recent artificial swarm, there is little drone brood in the hive to assess varroa levels. To remedy this I placed a shallow super frame in the brood box, the bees will then draw drone comb down from this to allow me to check for varroa once the brood is capped.
At my most recent inspection the queen had laid up the drone cells, so it would still be about a week before it I could check for varroa. At this point I noticed a couple of newly emerged bees with deformed wings. This is caused by a virus known as The Deformed Wing Virus, which is a sign that the varroa has got out of control in this hive.
Treatment of a hive with honey supers on can’t be done except with a Formic acid based treatment which has a number of risks including queen death. I decided to carry out an artificial swarm, removing the sealed brood to a seperate hive where the thymol based varroa treatment can be applied without tainting the honey.

Hive inspection 30/6/2014