Possible the worst timing today, when I went to visit the apiary.

I’d had word that one of the nucs I’d brought on from Yasmin was very busy, so went to see about upgrading them to a full hive. When I got there, the apiary was roaring with the classic “there’s a swarm somewhere” noise. Rushing over, I found bees pouring out of the nuc, and as I went to block up the entrance til I could get everything in place, I saw the queen (which I’d marked previously) rush out the door and take flight.

Of course, their favourite resting place is 25ft up in a sycamore, so no chance of getting them down. I’ve set up a bait hive in the apiary, but I’m not expecting them to fall for it when the whole world awaits!

Swarms from nucs often don’t leave any queen cells behind, and this was no exception. There are eggs, but until I know how many bees are left once it calms down, I won’t know if it’s worth trying to save or not.

The moral of the story - don’t assume that a nuc won’t build up fast enough to swarm in a summer - especially not when it’s around 25C and gloriously sunny for a week!

The day didn’t look like it was going to get much better after that - the other nuc is queenless, with laying workers, so they’ll be getting ditched. Plus working in a beesuit in direct sunlight in 28C is never fun! However all is not lost.

Yasmin has 2 supers on, and is working the upper one now, and the lime might well be out in a week or so. She’s also thinking of swarming again - eggs in some queen cups, so I’ll be splitting again to make another hive.

Amelia is also getting busy, so I decided to take out 5 frames (2 x honey, 2 x capped brood and 1 x eggs) and make up a new nuc - hopefully I can bring on another colony from her, and have some queen cells spare for emergencies. Not the ‘planned’ QC raising that I’d hoped for with the Hopkins method, but beggars can’t be choosers!

So, 2 busy hives, a split due, and a nuc in progress… we might hit 4 hives for winter after all - if I get them all assembled, that is!

Matthew Richardson