They arrived shortly after ten o'clock and we spent a pleasant half an hour catching up on each others' news and inspecting the garden following the recent work to finish off the lawn.
Mrs Tweedy and I then suited up, lit the smoker and wandered over to the hive. A few puffs of smoke were wafted in to the entrance and we paused for a minute or two while the bees calmed. Then we removed the roof, lifted the crown board and started to look through the Super.
The Super had been installed a fortnight ago and left without a Queen Excluder to ensure that the workers were not inhibited from moving up and drawing out the foundation in the new frames. The Queen Excluder was put in place last week, when I saw that seven or eight of the frames had had their cells drawn out.
As we looked through these frames it was apparent that I should have put the Queen Excluder on earlier as several of the frames had large areas of cells each containing a small bee larva curled up at the bottom. The Queen had obviously wandered up in to the Super during the first week and took a liking to the freshly constructed cells.
Obviously no-one wants bee larvae in their honey, but they will be hatched in a couple of weeks,** leaving the Super frames clear for honey storage.
The Super was lifted off the hive and we delved in to the brood box. The frames looked fantastic with large patches of capped and uncapped brood bordered by arcs of pollen and honey stores. We soon found the Queen wandering across the cells and I was reassured that all was well. The hive was reassembled and it was time for more coffee and cakes.
Mr & Mrs Tweedy left shortly before lunch time so we had the rest of the day to ourselves.
In the early afternoon I finished patching the lawn where Whiffler had worn away the sward. I then headed indoors and TP and I shifted some furniture around. Bookcases were swapped from one bedroom to another and there was finally space to relocate the hoard*** from the study and put it on display.
I finished the day with an extended period of contemplation. A gin and tonic was held in one hand and a hose pipe in the other. I relaxed and thought about as little as possible as I watered the new turf.
---* aka Mr & Mrs Tweedy (Aardman Animation's Chicken Run)
** unless I have a laying worker or the Queen is the Harriet Houdini of the bee world.
*** 30%'s rather derogatory term for my collection of Hornby Dublo