Today was the open apiary of our Chair, Simon Croson. He was going to run through the BBKA basic assessment with me as the candidate. The weather came good at just the right time following a wet morning. The part of the assessment we focused on was a hive inspection. I was supposed to demonstrate my skills as a beekeeper talking as I carried out the inspection, answering questions and keeping the bees under control.
I was quite confident that Simons bees would be calm and would be easily handled.
The hive had recently been requeened, so the first few frames contained a mix of stores of honey and older capped brood. I found the first eggs on the 4th or 5th frame. We noticed a slight “pepper potted” brood pattern, where the queen had missed the odd cell. We decided it was not a major problem.
The queen was found on one of the last frames, where she went about her business as usual. We watched as she checked cells to see if they were empty, then laid eggs in those that were empty. The only time I have seen this before was in an observation hive. Simon took the opportunity to remark his queen by lifting it by its wings, then holding its legs while marking with a water based pen.
Following my inspection Simon inspected another hive, here he demonstrated the clipping of the queens wing, to allow longer swarm prevention inspection intervals. We then practised marking drones using various techniques. I chose to handle the drone in my fingers. The first one flew off, but I successfully marked the second. I’m not sure I’m ready to attempt this on one if my queens yet, I only have a few.
When pressed Simon said if we had carried on with the full assessment I would probably of passed.