The flighty queen has flown

Today’s hive inspection was generally encouraging, with three large colonies in excellent health. All hives sported frames with large areas of clean white brood, and good amounts of stores are being laid down. The gold bees in the long deep hive show no signs of swarming, despite becoming a very large colony with an astonishing amount of young brood. They currently have roughly the same space as two national brood boxes but could benefit from a few more frames. The newly merged colony has also become rather large, with a lot of young brood, but still with some space on new frames. We will be adding a second super soon, perhaps next week.

The only slight setback we had was in the largest colony, with the Carniolan queen. Last week she had obviously been slimming down ready to leave the hive, took off from the comb and we thought we had lost her. Although she returned to the hive, which was rather surprising, this week she was nowhere to be seen. There appeared to be fewer bees than before and no sign of eggs. It seems that a swarm has departed the hive. As last week, there were several viable queen cells, with one not far from hatching. I must have missed that last week. This situation might ordinarily be disappointing, but there is still a large colony and we can now requeen with an Italian bee that should be less inclined to swarm. In all other respects, the Carniolan bees have been excellent, but trying to prevent them from swarming is a nuisance. We made sure that all of the queen cells were removed and will do so again next week, in preparation for introducing a new queen.

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