With the winter months behind us and as we approach the middle of March and spring appears to be coming early, there is still caution for heavy frost but I took the chance to carry out a basic inspection and remove the extra insulation that I experimented with over winter.
Some would say its still a little too early but unlike most Bee keepers, I had a late start last year and left on my supper on to help feed over winter and removed the queen excluder to give her access just in case there was a move by the colony into that area.
Always on the look out for the queen, I added the queen excluder, checked the supper for brood / eggs, these were OK so I put them back, added an eek to allow space for my fondant feeder and making sure all bees were below the excluder I put the hive back together. Generally they were very calm, numbers were low but they appeared healthy, however I couldn’t see the queen. I checked around the hive in case she was out and there it was, in the dead bee floor (as I call it) a blue spot amongst the graveyard of bees. It looks like she’s been there a while.
So, what happens now? Speaking to the experts and reading up on this a couple of things could have happened:
- A new queen mated in August that I missed and they have superseded the queen.
- She died – its possible after all everything does eventually.
If she was superseded then I could be lucky and there is a new queen is in the hive, I didn’t see one, but there again I wasn’t looking specifically for another queen. The best that I can do is hope that this is the case and try to find her at the next inspection.
If she died and there is no successor then the outlook is not good, with no laying queen there will be no new bees and the colony will die off.
The next few weeks will be telling, it is too early to re-queen and No-one at this point will have a spare queen.
Fingers crossed for a good outcome next time on The Bee Diaries.