SE Herts news by John Mumford

Gary Barnett's Apiary meeting on 24th May was an interesting affair. Gary wanted to make up a Nuc with the Old Queen and to raise a new Queen in the Colony. It got a bit scary when after I had marked and clipped the Queen and we later found the bees trying to Ball her. I gave them a good heavy smoking, rescued the Queen, and made up the Nuc. We then found the Queen on the ground in a very agitated state after someone removed the Nuc crown-board to put another frame in. The Nuc went down to Gary's garden and was let out late in the evening. I am glad to say that Mother and Daughter are now both doing fine. The following tea and cakes in Gary's garden with his Canaries, Ducks, Chickens, Pigs, Goats, Sheep, and a Turkey ended a very pleasant afternoon. Thank you Gary.
The Apiary meeting at Pinewood School had much to interest everyone. A small swarm hived just three days previously had drawn comb and the Queen was laying but not seen. Another colony had tried to swarm only that morning so we went through it. We heard and saw a virgin Queen PIPING, she took off but quickly came back, so that we could then safely break down all remaining Queen Cells. Thank you Adrian and Jo for an interesting afternoon.
Have you got, or, had a touch of swarm fever this year? There's been a lot of it around, and it's still going on. Many swarms are no bigger than a grapefruit. Queens start to lay within a few days of being given comb only to be quickly followed by occupied Queen Cells!
As I sit writing this report I have just received a plea from a school in Bushey that have a swarm in their playground and can't find anyone to deal with it.
I had one of my colony's swarm on 22nd. April before I could get round to mark and clip the Queen. I then went through them and left two marked open Queen Cells breaking all the others down. On the 28th April I broke all their wild Queen Cells down and one of the marked cells. On 14th. May I saw a Queen but she was not yet laying. On 26th. May the Queen was mated and laying. On 20th June no Queen to be found, no open brood, very few bees and half the them are drones, just about a dozen bees in their only super (no honey). An ideal opportunity to throw the remaining bees out, and have a clean start with a young Queen from a different stock and new comb.
I fully understand and sympathize with all those new Beekeepers who are encouraged to take up beekeeping. They are often given no backup or support and are left to stew when situations occur that would perplex even an experienced beekeeper. They are often exploited and charged the earth for Bees with Old Queens together with Faulty Secondhand Equipment.
I have only received offers of help from committee members for the Broxbourne Council Open Day event on the 4th. of July, and only one offer of help from SE. Herts members for the HBKA Bee World Show at Capel Manor. It seems that members are selfishly taking all that they need from the Association and are not prepared to put anything back! It's getting very disheartening and I might just take the same attitude at the next AGM.

No comments: