I examined 8 hives this afternoon without wearing gloves and the only sting I got was from a queen wasp I was squashing! I’m allergic to wasp stings. Not only was it very painful, but also my trigger finger has swollen so much that it is almost twice the size of its opposite number.
There was the usual round of unexpected things happening with the hives. One on Portland, that had been strongest and yielded a good crop, has died of isolation starvation with plenty of honey still in the hive. It is being robbed out by it’s neighbour which was always the weaker.
On another site on the Island both colonies are building up well. I marked a queen in the top bar hive; the first time I’ve seen her despite this being her third year. The National next door has a very full super of liquid honey ready for harvesting, but I don’t fancy carrying it up the slope to the car!
In outer Weymouth one of the hives has plenty of bees but no brood whatsoever and this, plus the engine noise, convinced me that they are queenless despite having brood when we oxaliced them in December. Maybe we were responsible for the queen’s death. I united the colony with the hive next door which was upside down, having brood in the super at the top of the hive and nothing in the brood box at the bottom. It was here that I was stung.
Next stop was Ourganics at Litton Cheney where my top bar hive was doing best of all, having 8 combs of brood. I harvested about that many combs of honey, which reminds me that they are sat in plastic bags in the back of my car. I’ll squeeze the honey out of them in the fruit press over the weekend.
Last stop was at Kingcombe where the bees in the TBH were dead, apparently of starvation despite there being food present. They had never really recovered from being moved from Devon in the Autumn.
Now, I really must stop typing as one of the 2 fingers I use is the stung one and it still hurts!