This morning I needed to follow her, and it, over to Coventry where it was left with a Soft Top Specialist who will investigate this month's fault at some point in the coming week.
The return trip took a couple of hours and it was ten o'clock before I was imbibing my second cup of coffee of the day.
I filled the remainder of the morning out in the garage assembling the new hive. I had knocked together the brood body and supers in spare moments over the past two days. This morning I assembled the roof and made a start on the frames. None of the assembly is complicated and is mostly a case of slotting parts together, using glue and nails to fix. The occasional use of a square is needed to make sure the boxes are ... well ... square.
The frames, however are fiddly and there are just over thirty of them to construct. The work is repetitive and can be tedious, but I seemed to find the right mental attitude and spent a relaxing hour knocking out the first set of ten super frames.
Lunch followed and then I headed out in to the garden to finish the half of the lawn that didn't get mowed yesterday. That burnt another hour and then I decided to take a look through the hive.
The weather has been mild but wet all week and today wasn't exactly ideal for a hive inspection either. It was dry and warmish but there was little sun and the bees weren't flying much. As a result the hive was crammed with bees and there was no chance of spotting the Queen. The workers had made a start on drawing out the foundation in the frames of the super that I added last week, but had not made a huge amount of progress. Had the weather been better they would have completely built out the comb in the space of a sunny week.
Peering through a mass of bees, the frames in the brood box looked good too; with plenty of larvae and capped brood. I removed a few Queen cups* from the frames and then reassembled the hive. Hopefully we will have better weather over the next week and the next inspection will see the second super filled with comb.
After shrugging off my bee suit I continued with Apiarist activities and spent another hour assembling another ten super frames in the garage.
By the time I had finished the afternoon had drifted in to early evening and I spent a while tidying away the packing materials that accompanied the hive.
It had been a busy day and the evening was spent relaxing in front of the TV.
---* Queen cups are wax cells built by the workers that face downwards towards the floor of the hive. They are easily identified as all other cells are aligned horizontally. Any egg laid in one of these will be reared by the workers to become a young Queen.
The Queen cups are removed as an element of swarm control management. If a second Queen hatches the original Queen will fly with a swarm to seek a new colony site, leaving the young Queen to mature and eventually take a mating flight.