Honey and Honey Bees

Friday, June 9th 2017

It’s beeeen a bee-zy day: At least it has been since lunchtime when the beekeepers arrived! Our observation honey bee hive has been struggling in recent weeks. This is because the queen in there hatched out late and so didn’t mate enough: To lay a worker bee (a female) the queen needs a fertilised egg, whereas to lay a drone (a male) she will use an unfertilised egg. Worker bees do as the name suggests – all the work of the hive – from cleaning cells, making wax, feeding grubs, guarding the hive, foraging…however the only job of a drone is to mate with a queen bee from another hive. We know our queen bee did not mate enough as she is now only laying drones.

The plan today was to swap our colony of bees for a new one: First the temporary closure of the Field Centre…

…and the donning of protective outfits.

Then careful removal of the observation hive to outside…

…where our bees were taken out…

… and put into a nuc for transport to their new home.

Then the observation hive was cleaned ready for its new occupants.

Equipment was got ready to mark the new queen so we can spot her easily in the hive.

Then the new, waiting nuc of bees was opened ready for transfer…

…but OH NO! We discovered that the new box of bees unfortunately has a drone-laying queen too!

Once back in their nucs, both colonies of bees will be taken away for the care they need. In the meantime our observation hive is without any bees – but the beekeepers think there will be a suitable colony available soon, so watch this space…

You can still enjoy our locally-produced honey as we received a new delivery today!

Thank you very much to Alison and Allister for their help with the bees today and to Kevin for the new batch of honey!


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