Not a Hive Inspection report as such as we’ve not been in properly since 15th July, but we have done some things which are worth noting since then.
Firstly, having moved the swarm from the nuc box to a full 14″ x 12″ National at home a week or so ago, I subsequently brought it over to the Apiary and placed it in Hive 2 position. We are now, temporarily, back up to four hives! I’ve still not dealt with the drone laying workers in Hive 3 and its looking more and more like I’ll be following Ted Hooper’s approach of just letting things take their natural course. With no worker brood coming through this colony is set to expire.
Hive 3 still has supers on top but I’ve now put a clearer board under them. One of these is pretty much finished off with capped stores and the other is about a third full. I’ll give this a couple of days and then move the third-full super on to the swarm in Hive 2. The queen in there is laying like a maniac at the moment and whilst by all accounts we shouldn’t get a crop off this hive – you never know! At worst they’ll take these stores down and use it themselves.
With our present spell of glorious weather hives 1 and 4 have been going absolutely bonkers. With all the rainfall we’ve had, followed by amazing sunshine, the plants have been in full bloom and the bees have gone out and made the most of it.
On our last inspection the supers were full of bees on these two hives so we added another one to each. This is the point at which I’ve been taught you should be adding more supers (when they are full of bees rather than full of honey). If you leave it to the point that its full of capped honey they’ll start putting stores below the queen excluder and, if they do this for long enough it might result in the queen not having enough room to lay eggs – which could ultimately result in swarming (and the loss of half your honey store as they’ll take that with them!!!).
Despite the additional supers added last time with all the present activity I was still not convinced that they had sufficient space to cater for a decent nectar flow. In perfect conditions a full colony can fill a super with honey in a few days – which I think is pretty amazing. So early this morning I added another super to each of these hives (not shown above) and I’m hopeful they’ll fill them up to the brim. It should at least give them enough room until we can do a proper inspection next week. The weather is supposed to change again in the coming days – back to our usual “sunshine and showers” – which should slow the bees down somewhat. We will see!