Saturday, 11 June 2016


Saturday started early for 30% and me: By quarter to nine we had already hit B&Q for terracotta pots and compost and shortly thereafter raced through Pets at Home and Jaeger in short order.

By ten o'clock we were back at home and unloading a significant quantity of garden and pet supplies form the back of the Defender. I'm glad we hadn't taken the Mini, as 30% had proposed.

The remainder of the morning was spent on light domestic tasks. Basically we were waiting for the arrival of the Personal Trainer for our initial consultation and the official commencement of our exercise programme. Amy; the Trainer eventually turned up at around half past eleven and spent a solid 90 minutes discussing diet and exercise plans that will benefit rather than put a pair of insulin dependent diabetics in to a coma.

The session went well and, ironically, ended with my having a hypo: Lunch obviously followed and then 30% and I headed out in to the garden to pot up some plants, including an ornamental display, which was to be a house warming present for Bond and Moneypenny.

B&M moved house at the beginning of the week and, this afternoon we popped round for coffee, a chat and a snoop around their Des Res. We had a lovely couple of hours, chatting in their new garden, catching up on news and discussing plans and families.  We do love their company and each time we get together it is an absolute delight.

Needless to say, we stayed longer than we planned and didn't get home until six o'clock. 30% needed to get ready to go out again. This time it was to attend an amateur choral event with her Mum and Dad.

The weather was the best that it had been all day so I hastened myself in to my bee suit, got the smoker lit and headed out to inspect the hive.  After a few puffs of smoke at the hive entrance I removed the roof and peered at the mass of bees in the Super. I then went to remove the crown board and it was stuck fast to the body of the Super ...

... This was the first indication that the bees were producing propolis. At this point I should explain that bees fill large voids with wax comb,  that is used to raise brood and to store honey and pollen. Smaller cracks are filled with a red, resinous substance called propolis which is the bees equivalent to a gap filling adhesive.

I had been expecting to see it for weeks, but today was the first time I had seen any sign of this "hive glue". It left me wondering what had suddenly caused it's production; colony size or availability of appropriate plant material?

Being quite late in the evening I carried out the inspection quite hastily.  I took a look at a couple of frames in the Super and could see that the cells that had produced brood were now filled with honey and the mature honey was starting to be capped with wax. Most of the Super frames were filled with bees and I was astonished when I went to remove the Super from the Brood Box: It must have weighed around twenty five kilos and most of that was going to be honey stores. They have been very busy in the past week.

I then dived in to the Brood Box and located the Queen on the third frame that I pulled from the box. She is much harder to see now we have so many workers and, as time has passed, her blue marking has got quite grubby so she now needs to be located by size and shape rather than by the blob of paint on her thorax.

I was greatly reassured to see her after last week's failure and could see that she was laying well by the huge quantities of eggs, larvae and capped brood. I scraped away some drone brood, brace comb and a few small Queen cups* and then closed up the hive.

I was home alone this evening as TP was out at work so spent my time avoiding the football and using the internet and books to assess the state of the hive. My conclusion is that I possibly should have put another Super on to the hive last week and certainly should have done so today.

It looks like I'll need to open up the hive briefly tomorrow too.
* Queen cups are cup shaped cells that point downwards rather than horizontally, as worker and drone cells do.  If Queen cells are left in the hive young queens will be raised and swarms will result. Removing these cells, as soon as they are seen, and also ensuring that the bees have plenty of space are method of reducing the chance of a swarm.

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