Over 20 members attended our apiary at the University for the first open meeting of the year on 28th March.The day was overcast with a little misty drizzle, with a temperature of around 11C, so we went ahead with checking all the colonies for an active queen being there and the food status. Three hives had supers below their brood boxes and it was required that these were changed around or removed to make sure that the brood was all in the main box – the branch hives are not run on ‘brood and a half’, several of them being Deep Nationals as it is.
After an initial demonstration on one hive, those that were intending to take their basic assessment this year took on the balance of the hives. In two hives the green marked queens were seen together with eggs, larva and sealed brood. These hives were clearly low in liquid stores but had some granulated stores. The super below one of the brood boxes was removed, the odd bees in it being shaken back into the brood box and a contact feeder added with syrup.
The last hive was somewhat more active and needed to be subdued with more smoke than the others. This colony had several frames of mixed liquid and granulated stores together with 7-8 frames of brood in all stages. The super below this brood was removed and placed over a wire queen excluder to give the bees room while also allowing time for any brood to hatch – necessary with such a large colony build-up so soon in the year as we don’t want them pushed into feeling so cramped that they start to build swarm cells. No feeder was given to this colony.
After the inspection, our usual tea, cake, chat and raffle. It was a good meeting.