So it’s been seven days since I hassled the bees. To recap, the Demon hive ie. my lovely indoor bees now have one and a half brood boxes on the bottom – with if my plan has worked, queen. Then a queen excluder another one and a half brood boxes and five supers – I actually had to move the workshop lights to fit that lot in.
The allotment bees I shall just leave alone, I had a quick check and there are three queen cells. Taking my track record into account, I’m leaving them well alone on the assumption that “The bees know if best’, there is a risk that the first queen out will swarm leaving the next to head the hive but I’m gambling that since they’re so weak, this shouldn’t happen.
It’s essential that I open up the Demons today as the chances are that the nurse bees in the upper levels, believing themselves to be queenless have decided to make emergency queen cells. Should those emerge I may as well have not bothered with the whole procedure as they’re certain to swarm.
I start from the bottom, which, yes means moving every box before I start but it also means I’m not shaking bees down into boxes I’m about to open, making for calmer bees and a smoother experience for all concerned.
The Queen is laying which is a great sign but bees being lazy animals at heart and with a massive flow of nectar on have filled all the spare space with nectar – not so great as with no space to lay she may decide to swarm. Given my lack of extra roof space I don’t have much choice but to replace a few frames and hope her ladyship lays in them before they get filled.
Above the queen excluder now and sure enough – queen cells, but only three of them and there are still plenty of bees around; I was worried about trying demarree as the previous queen’s bees wouldn’t cross an excluder.
The supers also have plenty of bees – and plenty of honey, annoyingly very little of it is capped which means it’s not ready to extract but the bees are short on space. I managed to locate six frames to replace with fresh foundation – and cram another super in there. I just hope it’s enough to give them room – it takes time to dry down and mature nectar into honey and at the moment it’s coming in faster than they can process. Of course, if I had let the bees swarm, or split them, I wouldn’t be having this problem – instead I’d have another hive and nowhere to put it, sometimes beekeeping is about balancing and compromise.
As we’re about to go off on holiday, I hope no one’s thinking of swarming over the next week or so.