Tuesday, April 4, 2017
I went back to the bees on Saturday on what I thought was a pretty perfect spring day for an inspection. I went around about 11.30 am, it was sunny, warm(ish) and not particularly windy. There were a lot of bees flying around the entrance and out foraging in two of the three hives. I thought it would be lovely
I decided to go through Hive 3 first as this was the 'quietest' of the hives on my arrival. They didn't seen too problematic but once I got into the brood box they started being defensive - trying (and succeeding on a couple of occasions) to sting me. I just about managed to determine there were 4 frames of brood on the deep but I closed up pretty quickly once I found that out.
I then went into Hive 1. I was planning on introducing a couple of queen excluders in this hive in order to isolate the queen (with luck in a brood box). These bees were not impressed with me but I managed to get the excluders on - but I had to beat a temporary retreat mid inspection. Maybe it was the alarm pheromone on my suit that they sensed but I got out as quickly as I could - picking up a couple more stings!
Quite why I opened the hive, Hive 2, I'm not too sure! They were just as cross and not too keen on my presence. But my objective was to put on a super I had brought from home. The previous week this hive was looking like the bees were starting to quickly fill the supers so I was planning on providing more space. I had thought about checking the brood boxes to see if the queen had started on the second layer - I never even started that!
So what is to be learned? I'm not sure. I suspect the alarm pheromone set them off. But why on such a nice day did they get so cross in the first place? I will have to do a bit of research. My experience has usually been that they are fairly calm and quiet in the spring on fine days!