As the Oil Seed Rape is finishing flowering it was important today to remove as much ripe honey as possible before it sets in the combs.
Hive 1 had a few frames ready to extract but I left these until the weekend to take out at my open apiary which has been brought forwards. In the brood box I found a number of unsealed queen cells. Rather than continue knocking these down I decided to do an artificial swarm. I placed a new brood box and frames with only foundation starter strips (more on that to come) on the hive stand. Into this I added a frame of mostly sealed brood and shook the frame with the queen into the new box. Replaced the queen excluder and supers, then I added a Snelgrove board (which I have never used before) and finally the old brood box minus the queen.
Hive 2 had rather more honey ready so I took off a full super, shaking each frame to check the honey was ripe.
I took out the charged queen cells and left the cups in the hope they are charged queen cells by Saturday.
Hive 3 also yielded a super of honey, and queen cells in the brood box. I carried out an artificial swarm, again using a Snelgrove board. More on that here.
In the evening I attended a busy meeting at the Wagon and horses where we discussed increasing stocks and making nucs.