As has become tradition John and Ann hosted Sleaford Beekeepers first Open Apiary of the season. Good sunny weather helped produce a good turnout with about 20 members attending. Some old faces and a few newer ones.
We started by having a look through two recently collected swarms. The first was quite small and probably a cast containing a virgin queen, no eggs were found or queen was seen. The second hived swarm was a bit bigger and the queen had started to lay eggs.
At this point we split into 2 groups, I helped Ann carry out a Demaree artificial swarm on a particularly strong hive in order to prevent it swarming. Apparently Ann and John have already extracted 2 supers of honey from this hive. On inspection we found quite a few queen cells, some already capped. There were eggs which had been laid within the last 48 hour, so we suspected the queen was there, but we couldn’t find her.
The Demaree artificial swarm moves the brood and queen cells to the top of the hive and new frames and foundation are put into a new lower brood box, ideally with the existing queen. As we couldn’t find her we left queen cells in the lower brood box as well. In a couple of days it will be possible to check for eggs identifying which box the queen is in. If she is still there.
After this john showed us the wild comb a hive had built in a super that had been left on too long with no frames in.
Just as we were ready to leave someone pointed out a swarm (perhaps from the hive that we had artificially swarmed??) that had gathered on a nearby Hazel tree. Due to the lateness of the hour and a lack of a bee brush we strapped a bait hive into the tree above the swarm in the hope that they will move up into it.
Then it was back to john and Ann’s house for coffee and cake.
Ann informed me the following day that the swarm had not moved into the bait hive. John brushed them down into a hive where hopefully they will remain.