A week or so ago I went with my apprentice, Rosie, to the apiary we share near her studio, principally to set up a wasp trap as she was concerned that the hives were under attack. I showed her how to make a trap from a plastic lemonade bottle by cutting off the top just where it joins the main cylinder and then, with the screw top removed, inverting the cut off section and inserting it in the main part of the bottle, which is baited with lemonade/cider/jam (not honey!).
I was hobbling with my stick but managed ok. We looked at Rosie’s hive first and, as I recall, it looked healthy enough but not very strong. Then we looked at mine and I found that lifting the empty super, then twisting to lower it onto the upturned roof made me yelp as the leg didn’t like that manoeuvre.
They had masses of stores in the brood box but only a couple of frames of brood, much of which appeared to be drone brood. I saw the queen and a small patch of eggs and young larvae in worker cells so I assumed all was well and, being careful with the leg, closed up the hive.
It then occurred to me that I ought to wait until the brood I had seen was capped and check whether the cappings were normal for workers or humpy as drones. I went back yesterday to check and my fears were confirmed – the queen’s a drone layer.
I’m now wondering what to do with all the stores. Lots of people are asking me for honey but I’m not up to carrying that weight down an awkward slope. Some could go to top up Rosie’s hive’s stores. When I get fitter I suppose I could take a few frames at a time to add, where needed, to my own hives elsewhere.
The wasp traps are working well. Additionally I had eased slightly open the tray under the Varroa trap I had made for Rosie’s hive and found, as intended, a couple of wasps wasting their time under the mesh floor.