Sunday, 15 May 2016

A fairly lazy Sunday

Sunday started at a very leisurely pace with a breakfast of coffee and croissants.

There then appeared to be some confusion over how the morning was to be filled.  I thought that we were headed in to town whilst 30% was adamant that ironing and The Archers Omnibus edition were most definitely at the top of her priority list.

I didn't want to stand in the way of crease free clothing so I left 30%  to her mission, dragged The Shitter from the garage,* and headed in to town. Antihistamines were the only one item that I absolutely needed so I used this as an excuse to ride out on my little green Royal Enfield.**

 I was back in time for an early lunch and then 30% said that she would like to come and inspect the bees with me. We donned bee suits, veils and gloves, gathered equipment and lit the smoker.

Once again the colony was incredibly calm as we opened up the hive. The crown board and feeder were removed and we got a first look at the Super that was installed last weekend. They had drawn out the foundation on seven or eight of the ten Super frames and were already starting to store nectar in the cells.

The was no sign of the Queen in the Super so it was removed and we made a start on the Brood Box. The development of the colony continues to amaze me. There was huge amounts of brood and stores. They had also been very busy building a lot of drone brood.*** This was scraped away and even that caused surprisingly little reaction in the colony.

We eventually caught sight of the Queen wandering across one of the new frames and I was reassured that all was going quite well. I was particularly impressed that one of the frames of foundation that was inserted three weeks ago is now a frame of capped stored of honey. In under three weeks**** they have drawn out the foundation in to cells, filled it with honey and maintained the environment to get the moisture content to a point where they have capped off the cells to store it for hard times. The other new frames have also developed really well and are now holding capped brood, pollen and honey stores ... remarkable!

The inspection was completed. A Queen Excluder was installed between the Brood box and the Super and the hive was closed up for another week. I decided to remove the feeder as the bees haven't taken much of the syrup and it was starting to attract ants. We tidied up and rewarded ourselves with a coffee and a slice of cake.

It was then time for a walk with the dogs in afternoon sunshine.  I had then planned to move a couple of bookcases in the house, but, instead, I hit the sofa and snoozed for an hour or so.

So that just about sums up my Sunday. If all goes to plan the garden will take another step forward next week when when Rob arrives to build the retaining wall and lay some turf.
* I really must rearrange the bikes in the garage so that the others also get ridden.
** She has been back on the road for about a year now and I have to admit that I have become very fond of her. She is basic and not very fast, but her small dimensions make her easy to ride.  I have become accustomed to kick starting her and regularly enjoy trundling around the local lanes and bends.
*** Drones are the male bees and they do not work to develop or support the colony. Their only purpose is to go on mating flights and fertilise virgin queens. Removal of the drone brood creates more space for worker brood, and is also seen as a way of reducing the number of varroa mites, which are a major pest.
**** The colony did very little in the first week

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