The intent and purpose of my Blog is to share with you my experience of keeping bees, I can only guess, and you may wish that this will change over time. I find that keeping bees is quite a solitary activity, when i am carrying out inspections i am often thinking “is this normal? How would other colonies compare to mine? etc… etc…”. It’s not until the next association meeting or a call to someone with more experience who can offer advice that you get the information needed by which time things may have changed or decisions have had to be made.
There is so much great stuff we can read about what our bees and therefore us are to do in a certain month, this of course is based on a typical season in an often unidentified location. What is a typical season? Where this typical location? I am not sure that these exist, so this blog will share with you what is happening in my particular location on the Berkshire border with Oxfordshire at the time it is happening. Could we be making the most of social media to share information in real time and broadcast our experiences to make us better beekeepers? Is blogging about our bees or tweeting the latest buzz in our apiaries the future to bring us all a little closer and keep us up to date?
This is my third season of keeping bees and my intent this season is to focus on increasing the number of colonies that I am keeping from two to at least five. To do this i am using a ‘Cupkit’ and ‘Cloake Board’ method to rear queens from my strongest colony following a method that was shared with VDBKA members at a winter meeting in early last year.
I have started this week as i think the colony i wish to use is close to swarming, having taken out queen cups at each inspection over last two weeks. This weekend when preparing the colony i placed the Cloake Board between the double brood box and the Cupkit in the bottom box. On finding the queen who is now secured safely in the bottom of the two boxes i noticed she was also very small. I have read recently that the queen is starved by the workers in the days running up to swarming so she is lighter and more able to fly with the swarm. The lack of food causes the queen to stop producing and laying eggs which will not be needed until the swarm has established in a new site.
I really hope that she and most of the bees will be there when i need to place her in the Cupkit later this week and equally importantly has not stopped laying eggs.