Extremely late this year, but the weather finally got good enough to go and do a full inspection of all my hives.

Both hives and the nuc had flying bees - however my poly hive (Amelia) appears to be all bees and no brood/larvae/queen. there are signs of supersedure, including an empty, hatched queen cell, but no indicator as to whether this happened in the last week or 2, or at the very end of last year. I suspect the latter. There’s lots of stores, but no pollen either, which isn’t a good sign.

I’ve reduced this down to a single hive from a double, and will leave it alone for a week - this lineage’s queens tend to be late layers, but I don’t hold out much hope. Will merge them or clear them out next week if nothing changes.

The nuc has gone from packed with bees when I put a feeder/pollen on a few weeks ago, to a small cluster of brood on a single frame and 2-3 frames of bees - sign that a queen is/was present - though I couldn’t find her. The bottom of the nuc was full of dead bees (half an inch deep!) which makes me think they got started, then the cold got them.

I’ve moved them into the top box from the poly, just to give them a cleaner space, and filled out the remaining spaces with honey-filled frames from poly since they were low on stores. I’ll check them again in a week to see if the brood patch has grown any, otherwise this is also a merger.

Last but not least, Yasmin has actually come out strong from the winter, and has covered 7 frames with brood, 1 with pollen (80% coverage!) and 3 frames of stores, with tons more coming in now the blossoms are out. There was also a couple of queen cells, 2 with eggs, so I’ll need to artificially swarm this colony soon. Looks like it’ll be worth splitting into 2 nucs since I’m lower on bees than I thought I’d be - which means my expansion plans might go more slowly than I’d hoped.

In all 3 hives the pollen patties had been pretty much ignored, so this is something I know not to bother with in future years - even ones with a dearth of flowers!

Matthew Richardson