I inspected my bees on Monday after getting back from an amazing five days at Glastonbury late on Sunday night (photos from Glasto). I spent most of Monday afternoon building brood box frames in the hope that I could perform an artificial swarm. As I’d found a couple of queen cells last time I thought this was a good plan to prevent them from swarming and to enable me to increase to two colonies.
I was very disappointed not to find the queen anywhere, despite looking really, really hard so doing the artificial swarm wasn’t on the cards. There are so many bees now its much more difficult to spot her but I did see plenty of brood – sealed, all sizes of larvae and some eggs. I also saw three queen cells with larvae and royal jelly which I destroyed. The super had plenty of honey too – but none of it sealed yet and very runny so not yet ready to take off. I put on another super – the extra space should keep them a bit happier if they are getting crowded.
I was a bit worried to see that there was a cluster of bees at the entrance of the hive so googled it to find out what could be going on. Apparently this “bearding” is probably down to the hot weather (extremely hot and humid). The bees are trying to keep cool and enable better airflow around the hive. I took out the floor of the hive to give them a bit more ventilation (the mesh floor is still in place). Hopefully this will make them more comfortable and encourage water evaporation from the honey to help ripen it quicker.