A quick update on the bees
Russell is back from his overseas trip and was able to give me my bee counselling session this morning. He was very calm, as only a true bee keeper can be! He told me to go back out there this afternoon and take the queen excluder (grate) that I had between the two boxes off. That way both boxes can be used by the bees as brood boxes. (Apparently it would not make a difference if the queen was separated from the drones. She apparently mates once only, and that lasts her for life. Interesting.) In a few weeks time we will add the third box and keep that one for honey only. With the bee population expanding so rapidly, having two boxes for brood makes sense anyway. He reassured me that if I had killed the queen the bees would make themselves another one (not as good and perhaps with dodgy pedigree, but a queen that will keep the hive alive and well). He also tried to make me feel better by saying that it was impossible to add boxes without killing a few bees. I am sure I killed more than the average though! Oh dear.
So I donned the gear again this afternoon after telling myself to be calm and unhurried (despite squeezing this in the half an hour I had before having to pick kids up from school). Deep breathing, calm thoughts, and off I went. I had two tasks to do – remove the queen excluder and add the beetle trap I had forgotten yesterday. All went well I am pleased to report and I am feeling slightly more confident about my capability for bee keeping. There were a lot less bees in the hive since most were out gathering pollen – the right time of day to approach them. I mistakenly thought I had to do it in the evening when the bees had finished their work and were settling down for the night. That was ofcourse just for transporting bees. Hive inspections are supposed to be done during the day. Oops. Well, it certainly made a difference today and many (bee) lives were saved in the process of my bumbling around there. There were still lots of bees on the frame I had moved into the top box. Apparently the bees will cluster around the frame that has eggs/larvae in order to keep them warm. Russell thought the frame I moved probably had lots of larvae rather than honey as I thought, and would have been the reason why the bees would not leave it despite the smoke. They were protecting their brood – isn’t that sweet? The new frame seemed to have quite a few bees crawling around too which I am taking as a good sign.
So all might be well in the hive, other than a potentially dead queen. The sting on my neck is still a bit swollen and slightly itchy if I touch that area. Much like a bad mosquito bite. I am not worried about it though. At least I now know what it feels like, and I know that I am not allergic to bees!