Almost at the end of another season and pleased to report, things are really looking up. We’ve extracted and jarred a reasonable amount of honey most of which has already flown out of the door and the reports that I’ve had back so far regarding the taste, etc. have been really encouraging. The empty supers have been returned to the hives and I’m hopeful that we might have a few more frames to extract within the next couple of weeks. The hives at “C” now have laying queens and the nuc’s. are progressing nicely, one is still a bit irritable but I’m hopeful this will sort itself out in the next couple of weeks as the new brood begins foraging. So, as I said, things would seem to be on the mend. Hive four at the meadow continues to confound me. last week after checking on the progress of the supers, I decided to have a quick look through the brood box, I didn’t plan to spend too long with the box open as if you remember, there was a hatched queen cell at my last visit and if there was, as I was expecting, a new queen running, I didn’t want to unduly alarm her. Imagine my surprise then to find along with a couple of small patches of brood, four capped queen cells. Their size and position on the comb told me that once again hive four had decided to supersede. Why they should do this with a new queen in residence, only a few weeks old and seemingly beginning to lay well, I’ve no idea. These really were nice cells, large and well formed, far too good to waste. I left the nicest cell in situ and removed the other three. One of these is now in the hollow tree nuc, as it appeared far superior to the emergency cells they had drawn out for themselves, and the others are in Apidea nuc’s. It’ll be interesting, if nothing else, to see what hive four have next up their sleeves.

A week on and my hopes of more honey are fading fast. The weather has, to say the least, has been changeable and the forecast is for more of the same so, my thoughts have been turning to preparing for Winter. I’ve got my sugar and Apiguard sorted and my feeders are all in good nick. I’m looking to start feeding the week after next which will be the third week of the month.

As planned, all of the hives and nuc’s. received their first feeder-fills of syrup by the end of week three which was great as I’ve a week’s holiday in Torquay organised for the end of the month which I can now take with complete peace of mind. The queen cells in four and the hollow tree nuc. have both “hatched” which is an added bonus also, the bees at “C” seem to have lost their aggressive edge. Removing the supers and replacing them with Adams feeders, I fully expected the bees to show their displeasure at my intrusions but no, not even the occupants of nuc. one, which really was a pleasant surprise.

Our society had agreed to have our bee-stall at another Village Fete which meant nuc. one would be once again co-opted into service. They have occupied the brood section of the observation hive since the previous show so once again, it was a case of find the frame with the queen on, and transfer it to the observation section. Again, surprisingly, the bees behaved impeccably, a fact that I put down to me not tipping them out of the wheel-barrow on the way to the car, more than any permanent change of heart. It’ll be interesting to see whether this change of mood is just a passing phase or whether it’s for keeps. Thinking about it, the brood from the bought-in queens should be taking over from the old about now which would mean that this mood change should be permanent. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of welcome I get when I return from my week away.