Well, that was interesting.
I dropped in on my bees the morning after they’d arrived to see how they were doing. It all seemed a bit quiet:
So I thought I should really kick things off with a proper full inspection. This morning, I suited up and took the lid off. Now that’s more like it:
(Poor photo quality due to trying to take it with an iPhone wearing rubber gloves…)
Then I realised that they were a bit livelier than the ones I’d seen when I’d been looking round other folks’ hives. Of course, based on my earlier viewing of the activity around the hive, I hadn’t bothered to bring the smoker along (we’ll talk about that piece of equipment another time). This was a bit of a mistake as they turned out to be quite upset at my interference in their lives.
As a result, I had an early opportunity to discover whether or not I am allergic to bee stings. Turns out I’m not, although I did check the British Beekeepers Association leaflet for details of the symptoms for anaphylactic shock just in case. These include “feeling of impending doom”, although I tend to have this most days anyway, so it’s probably not a sure-fire indication.
What with being (a) mobbed by a bunch of angry bees and (b) being stung (note to self: tuck your gloves inside your bee-suit next time) it wasn’t a wholly satisfactory first inspection, as I abandoned it around halfway through. I’m a bit annoyed at myself about this, but I guess I’ve learnt one or two lessons.
From what I did see, my bees do seem to have been working hard at laying down food stores and I did get a glimpse of the queen. How could I tell she was the queen? Well, my supplier had very kindly marked her with a white spot. I’ll try and get a picture to show you next time.