Monday, 9 April 2018

A good sign and a bad sign

The bees have had a miserable time recently.  It feels as if we have had nothing but rain for weeks so they have mostly been confined to barracks.  I expect they were bored and frustrated so it was no surprise to see so many out in the sunshine these past two days.  At one stage it seemed as if every returning forager was carrying pollen.  And pollen collection is a good sign that things are going well inside.

The pollen colours were mostly yellow and orange with a few bees collecting pink, white or cream.

These bees had obviously found a good source of pollen.  Many were stopping on the outside of the hives on their return, perhaps for a bit more grooming, or to catch a bit of sunshine, or to get their breath back.

This one returned covered in pollen but with none in her pollen baskets.

After taking the photos I put in boards under the mesh floors for a varroa count over the next week.  While I was doing so I glanced across at the next hive to see a queen on the landing board!  At second glance it was a queen wasp, looking as though it wanted to get into the hive.  I ran for the camera but the wasp had disappeared by the time I got back, probably moved on by the guards.

I was very surprised to see a few drones outside the hives.  It is very early for drones and I wonder if these few had managed to survive the cull last autumn and had only just been discovered by the workers.  This poor chap has a deformed wing so despite my efforts with formic acid last summer and oxalic acid in the winter it suggests there is still a problem.

I haven't yet been able to do an inspection because of the weather but I am very keen to have a look in to see what is going on.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed looking at your industrious little workers, Christopher. I could just imagine the various flowers producing the range of pollen colours. Dratted varroa! Sadly, the mites got ahead of me last fall and fatally weakened my hives. My replacement nucs should be ready in another month. Till then, my yard is a poorer place.