In the Apiary : Late April : The Big Day
There are some weeks when whole months happen. This week is shaping up to be one of those weeks in the Bermondsey Street Bees’ apiary. Next up: all 3 hives will be opened for their first inspections of the year.
Right now, they’re sitting there like wrapped-up birthday presents: you can see the shape and size, you can even heft the weight, or let your imagination scud back over past packages – but you can’t look inside until The Big Day dawns. And that is only when the conditions are right – 14C and above and, at most, a light breeze.
Ok, let’s play a little bee-game: here are my predictions for what I think will be revealed when each hive is “unwrapped”:
Abbey Hive: this is the big one. Looks populous and healthy, with a young 2012 Queen and docile productive bees. I’m expecting at least 3 full frames of worker Brood in All Stages (BIAS) and that I will be adding supers for the bees to store surplus honey within a week or so.
Shard Hive: a problem hive. More exposed to the elements and its late-mated 2012 Queen may be a drone-layer (ie no worker bee brood) and possibly weakened by a late Spring bout of nosema. I’m expecting just a frame and half of brood here – and keeping my fingers crossed for it to be worker brood.
Thames Hive: the real troublemaker. Another late-mated Queen, but one which has produced a feisty, pinging bunch of bovver-bees, which have gulped down more sugar-syrup feed pro rata that the other hives. I anticipate 2 full frames of BIAS here – but I am already hatching plans to depose her Majesty….bad-tempered bees need requeening to repent!
So what will it be: tears before bedtime, or over-excited whoops of joy? All will be revealed – and pictures, too – in the next episode of this Bermondsey Street “honey opera”……