Its three weeks since I did my first install of a package of bees with a buckfast queen. Today i was going to make further inspection with a view to carrying out the following operations.
- Remove the follower board and insert the remaining three frames.
- Remove the frame feeder and stop feeding.
- Check the status of the supercedure queen cell I spotted last week.
- Carry out a photographic frame by frame inspection
During the inspection last week it was very difficult to make out the worker brood clearly but it was quite different on this occasion, There ws substantially more comb and worker brood was very evident on most frames. There was drone brood at the base of several of the frames and most also included capped honey and some pollen. I had hoped that at least some of the frames would have been completely filled but they all still had some way to go. This may be because I inserted two frames last week, one frame went into the middle of the brood nest.
Last week I had spotted a queen cell, so I was pleased to see that that cell had been torn down and that there were no other queen cells present. The frame I had inserted into the middle of the brood nest to “open it up” and discourage any ideas of swarming had been filled out about half way.
In order to speed up the inspection and to provide photographs for more careful assessment later, I photographed each frame – back and front.
Later on I was able to take a much more detailed look at each frame and lo and behold – there was the queen! She was marked with a red dot. If you click on the photograph you can see the queen much better! i had not realised that she was marked, it makes it very easy to spot her. Anyway it was the ultimate proof ( if any were needed ) that the queen was alive and laying and that things in the hive appear to be going well.
Because there was capped honey and there appeared to be a flow on, I decided that the bees no longer needed feeding. I was torn between wanting to encourage them to build comb faster and the disease and pest risks of having syrup in the hive. On the next inspection I will check if the stores have been added to or used up and assess the situation again.