Apiary meeting, 21 May

Meridian members gathered at Swanmore today for our second apiary meeting of the season. The weather and bees were both kind for which we were grateful; we had several new members in attendance including Eileen, Jane, Kate, Pete, Patrick, Rachael and Jake.

In all, three hives were opened including Robin’s colony housed on twenty-two frames in two standard National boxes which is what Beekeepers call ‘double brood’. Thank you to Robin for allowing us to go through your hive.

Becky showing her group through one of the Association hives.

Thank you too, to Lisa and Becky for showing their group through two of the Association’s hives. Both colonies were occupying nine frames and are building up steadily. The queens were seen in both colonies, as well as brood at all stages. Honey, nectar and pollen were also identified and some of our newbies saw eggs for the very first time.

Healthy “pearly-white” larvae clearly segmented, lying in the characteristic ‘C’ shape in a pool of brood food. Eggs can be seen on the right-hand side.
Everybody was able to practise handling and turning a frame. Zoom in on Lucy’s face for an interesting close up of flying bees!

Thank you very much to Simon for demonstrating the ‘sugar roll’ technique of varroa counting. We were all perplexed by the apparent lack of varroa detected by the exercise. Only one varroa was found.

We also took out the monitoring boards from the Association colonies and despite a healthy drop of pollen, wax and other debris, only one varroa was detected on one of the boards. Could this be right?

As usual, the meeting concluded with tea and biscuits and the chance to chat bees and life!

Becky’s group watching a worker emerge from her cell.

Thank you to Becky and Lisa for leading their group and to Chris and Nicky for their support and to the Hammond’s for their usual hospitality.

Thank you also to those of you who parked elsewhere for keeping the Hammond’s driveway clear.

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