I woke early on Sunday and, after a leisurely start, picked up the dog clippers once more. It was Marauder's turn this morning and I soon had her looking quite presentable. I still need to deal with her and Tyson's paws, but they both must have sensitive feet and do not enjoy that part of the clipping process.
By mid-morning I had finished clipping Marauder and the weather was beautiful. The bees were in flight and it was the perfect time to perform an inspection of the hive.
I gathered the usual paraphernalia and also a spare floor, brood box, crown board and roof just in case I needed to create a "split" in response to last week's indications of possible swarming. I soon had the smoker lit and wandered over to the hive.
The first part of the hive to be inspected was the Super and it was much as expected. It was a reasonable weight, but, perhaps, a little lighter than last week. The weather over the past week hasn't been fantastic and the bees may well have been relying, in part, on some of their stores. There were plenty of bees up in there handling the nectar and pollen and nothing to cause alarm, so this box was put to one side.
Next I removed the Queen Excluder and started to work my way through the second Super that was now serving as an extension to the Brood Box. This needed to be a thorough search as I would need to locate the Queen if I needed to create a "Split". The box was filled with bees and it was apparent that last week's reconfiguration of the hive had encouraged the bees to move up in to this space. Despite the poor weather they appeared to have been building comb, but there was no sign of the Queen, nor eggs and larvae. They had started to make use of the extra space, but the Queen had yet to follow.
The deep National Brood Box was last component of the hive to be inspected. The outer frames weren't particularly active but once I moved inwards I saw frame after frame of capped brood and larvae. 30% also spotted the Queen making her way across a frame and this was the "do we or don't we" point ...
... If I was to create a "Split", the Queen needed to be added to it. Do I move her to the new hive, or do I leaver her where she is? The reason for the indecision was that the colony had appeared to respond well to the extra brood space provided last week. We saw and removed a few Queen cups and there was only one that was anywhere close to being described as a Queen cell.
I took the decision to leave the colony intact. The reason behind this decision was the fact that I didn't really have a good Queen cell to leave to develop in to a new Queen. Hopefully I have done the right thing.
In the afternoon I set about Whiffler with the clippers and this is where things went downhill. Whiffler looked great, but as I finished clipping him I noticed that my hip was starting to twinge. By the time I straightened up I had a nagging ache and realised that my plan to ride out on one of the bikes was not going to happen.
Instead I ended up on the sofa with the ache dulled by pain killers and slept for a couple of hours.
Hopefully the upcoming MRI scan will shed light on the problem and provide treatment options.