More pictures will be posted when available. In no particular order.
Above: Bees on frame. Visible is:-
- Marked Queen
- Larvae of different sizes
Can you identify them?
Above: A returning swarm. Thousands of flying bees seems intimidating but they are not interested in us and will rarely sting. A swarm will not usually return, however if the queen has a clipped wing and cannot fly, the bees will return to the hive.
Above: A "bronzed" tip queencell. As the queen is ready to emerge, the workers sometimes remove the wax tip of the queencell to make it easier for the queen to get out.
Above: A swarm which had made a home in a compost bin in Bradwell, Norfolk. The swarm - a cast with a virgin queen - was re-housed and the queen started laying a week or so later.
Above: Housing a bee swarm. The bees were tipped onto the sheet and walked into the hive. It's always a fascinating thing to watch. Sometimes you can see the queen marching up hill towards her new home. Once she is in, the bees will definitely follow.
Above: A Nucleus colony of bees. The lighter piece of wood across the entrance is an entrance reducer which helps the colony defend itself from robbing - either bees or wasps. Robbing can be a problem in some years as summer progresses.
Above: Two good frames of brood. The first one is of sealed brood which shows that the queen is laying really well, although with no stores on the frame, the colony would struggle in bad weather if there was no honey elsewhere in the hive. The near-vertical line of open cells on the left is where a frame wire is situated - so we can't blame the queen for not laying there! The second frame shows brood surrounded by pollen surrounded by honey, some of which is sealed at the top of the frame. This photo was taken in September as the nuc was preparing itself for winter with the brood nest shrinking. Note the darker comb in the right-hand picture denoting older comb. It's advisable to replace comb every few years.
In July, Fireweed, (Rosebay willowherb) can be a good source of forage.
A swarm issued from this hive. when they are ready to go, the workers do 'buzzing runs' and work themselves us before they leave the hive in their thousands. However as the queen's wings were clipped in this case, she failed to fly. The bees could be seen pushing her out but she scurried back into the hive. In this photo the queen marked blue. (Click to enlarge to find her).
Here's an interesting one. Two queen on one comb. This is mother and daughter; you can see mother is marked red and is yellower than her offspring. Daughter is unmarked. This photo was taken in March so what we can assume happened is that the daughter is a supercedure queen from the previous autumn. Within the hive was one area where there was drone brood and another with worker brood.Which one is the drone layer and which one survived? Nature usually makes the correct decision so I left them to it. The older queen disappeared leaving a drone laying daughter. So they both went. On this occasion, Nature got it wrong, sadly. (As usual click, to enlarge the photograph).
Beehives one evening in July on the edge of a field of phacelia and other bee-friendly plants.
A bee on ceanothus. Some garden plants are good for honeybees, however many imported plants are not. The BBKA website has a list of some good plants for bees.
A queen in her prime to the left. To the right, you might just see the small queen on this breeding nuc frame. I can't recall how she finished up there but she mated and laid well but could not be used.
Drone brood in super frames as a result of laying workers. They didn't lay in the brood box so were missed :(
This hive shows classic fanning by workers from the nasnov glands. A virgin queen was out mating and the workers were fanning to give her additional information to come home, "We're over here!" She started to lay a few days later.
Good queens and good forage make for large colonies. If you are worried about the 3 brood boxes - which can be a bit daunting (!), the colony had 20 frames of brood in the two broodboxes and as I was going away for a while, I decided to give them more space so a third was added. You will also notice the clearer board under the top two supers as these were in the process of being removed. The beer crate was to stand on.