Show me the honey – adding more honey supers to the hive!

I went down to check the bees yesterday – I had left it 10 days since the previous visit but with two newly hatched and mated  queens laying in the first two colonies and a swarm collected this year in the third I am pretty confident that they won’t try to swarm again this year…. of course I could still be wrong and need to keep checking for queen cells or the signs of any potential swarm behaviour until the end of July.

The hive that had the queen cells, workers, brood and honey when the artificial swarm was carried out in the second week of May  is now looking really strong. There are brood present in all stages forming a really nice brood pattern on the comb, all the foundation is drawn and the frames are covered in bees –  I have added a second honey super as the first is almost full and feels quite heavy, I reckon aboyt 25 – 30 lbs of honey,  and I hope that there will now be a decent honey crop from the hive this year!

The parent hive is still building strength, the queen that I marked at my last visit was seen (and with the white dot on her back in the photos below) and again she is laying really well with brood of  all stages present. This hive was all new undrawn foundation back in May (freshly stamped wax rather than drawn comb) and the bees are still putting energy into drawing this out – they are definitely not as hard working as the new swarm on this front. The brood boxes were reversed in order to try and encourage the bees to move up and draw out the foundation so that the queen has more space to lay and builds up a larger work force before the July nectar flow slows down.

The swarm, collected back in mid-June, has drawn the foundation out at an amazing pace, last visit saw the bees being re-housed ina full hive from a 5 frame  nucleus box and during this visit I was able to add another super with 11 frames of fresh foundation to the brood box to create more space within the hive to encourage the queen to lay more eggs and give the bees more space to store honey for the winter. The queen was also found and marked, as with the previous hives, so hopefully I now have three queens that are easier to find during the inspections but it should also be apparent if these have swarmed or been superceded in the future as I will find an unmarked queen in the hive.

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