I am going to refer back to a couple of earlier emails with updates.

Firstly, regarding tidying apiaries. Following up on a question I received, I discovered French beekeepers have found that bees can very easily find their way through grass or other vegetation in front of the hive but that hornets do not like it. It doesn’t stop predation but can reduce it.

Also Jersey reports that the “moustache” idea across the entrance - chicken wire on a fitted frame - also helps. The bees can fly through, or at least land on and then scramble through it. Hornets appear to prefer to catch in flight rather than take from a surface.

Secondly, remember we mentioned laying workers recently.

Maybe the first sign is that you spot random patches of eggs throughout the brood chamber and that the eggs are on the side of the cells rather than at the bottom; there are random patches of drone brood and no worker brood; or that the number of bees in your colony seem to be dwindling and a close check of the egg laying pattern will confirm that you have laying workers.  Laying workers will not accept a new queen and are notoriously difficult to unite with another colony so although you can try to unite them, your other option is just to shake them out in the apiary.

If you tried artificial swarming this year, you may decide to unite your artificial swarm to the parent colony for a stronger foraging force for the summer flow. The best way of doing this is using the ‘newspaper’ method. Remove any supers on the Q+ colony and shake off any bees. Place a sheet of newspaper on top of the Q+ colony. Make a few small holes in the paper, and place the box containing the Q- colony on top. Then replace the supers. By the time the bees have eaten through the newspaper, they will all have adjusted to the queen’s pheromone (and each other) and become one united colony.

If you’re lucky you might spot a bee leaving the colony carrying away a strip of newspaper!

When visiting your Apiary remember it’s very hot inside your veil so make sure you have plenty of water to drink - don’t get overheated and suffer from heatstroke - very unpleasant and potentially dangerous. Also, if you have a clean garden sprayer, put some fresh water in that and spray on and around the front of your hive. Your bees will appreciate it.

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