Cedar checks on the swarm he caught last week to make sure it’s got a laying queen.
Thank you for joining us this morning. Right now we're inside a beehive and we're having a look and just a second ago I spotted the queen on the lid here, but she might have crawled back in by now. Let's just have a look around and see if we can spot her. Like a game of Where's Wally, or Where's Waldo in the US. You're looking for a less-stripy long abdomen, bigger legs queen bee. See how she's very similar to all the other worker bees, but she's got this shiny back plate - that's often a bit of a giveaway. And notice her movements, she struts, instead of the little movements from the other bees. So the queen bee is very important to the hive. There's usually just one queen in a hive and there could be up to 50,000 worker bees and maybe 600 drones or so, which are the males.
So we've got the queen here and we wanna make sure she's not orphaned from the hive. And I just popped the lid open and there she was right on the lid, which is a good reason to remember to leave the lid leaning against the hive in case you've missed her on the underside of the inner cover. There she is. Look at that. We better put her back in the hive. So we'll just put the lid over here and let her crawl back into the hive. Okay, she's joined the rest of the bees there, which is good.
Naturally drawn comb
Now this is a swarm we caught exactly a week ago. So let's just have a look at what they're doing. We've got naturally drawn comb in here. We want to do a check to make sure they are drawing nice and straight. So in the bottom box of a Flow Hive you've got just wooden frames where the bees build their own wax. So if you have a look here, you can see the comb guide, which is just a little stick at the top - and that's all you need for the bees to start drawing comb. Now sometimes they'll start going sideways. So if you're doing naturally drawn comb like this, you don't have a big plastic or wax foundation sheet, then you do need to check that they're going straight.
Next I'm going to pull out another frame and just have a look at what's going on in the actual frame. So as we move towards the middle, we're gonna see more activity. This is a brand new swarm from last week and what we're seeing here is what's called festooning bees, where the bees actually hang like scaffolding before they start building their comb. It's really white wax, showing that it's virgin wax that the bees are secreting and using, when it's browner it's been recycled or sometimes it's creamy or yellow.
Beautiful, isn't it? The white virgin wax they're making. And you'll notice that there'll be different cell sizes. The bees will be sizing the cells for themselves. Now these are a bit bigger than the brood size, which is a 5.3mm cell and these are coming out towards 6mm. And they'll do that when they're further away from the middle of the brood nest for honey storage. And you can actually see the nectar glistening down in the bottom of the cells there and that's their bees doing their amazing job collecting their nectar dehydrating it and creating their honey.
Eggs in cells
I'm gonna start to look to see if we've got any eggs, see if we have a laying queen. We know we have a queen, but just while we're here we'll have a look for any eggs and just marvel at the world of bees and what they're doing inside the hive.
I have just spotted some eggs in the cells. If you look down the cells here, what you'll see is tiny little grains of rice and that's the bee eggs. So we've got a, a healthy swarm catch here, we've got a queen, we've got eggs, we've got honey stores and I can see some pollen stores as well. So these bees are away. In the next few weeks they'll probably fill up this entire box with comb and be ready for the super to go on. And then we can harvest some honey after usually a few months goes by and the bees have done their amazing work collecting that nectar and bringing it back into the hive.
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