I regularly examine the floors of my hives. The stuff which falls out of the hive tells a story about what the bees are doing. I always look for Varroa mites. I've found none on the floors of any of my hives for several weeks. I don't know why.
It's cold, so there isn't much to see at the hives. I'm still keeping an eye on the colonies by inspecting the removable base boards.
All the hives (C, D, E, F, G) are showing evidence that they're uncapping honey and eating it. There are some darker cappings which indicates that brood may be hatching. The colour of the wax suggests that it is from brood comb but the cause is not certain. They might be tidying or repairing damage. Midwinter brood is more common than some literature suggests so I'd be confident that they're still rearing.
The colonies in all 7 hives are quiet this week. The weather is between freezing and 10C.
I checked the removable screens below the brood boxes. There appears to be activity in all the hives. I cleared away evidence of brood hatching from some of the hives but I don't think that I'll see much more hatching for a while.
Hive A appeared to be very quiet but the base board is frequented by ants and slugs. It's possible that they have been clearing away wax and sugar which drops from the hive. They don't remove the bodies of Varroa as far as I can see.
I visited my out-apiary today and examined the removable hive floors for evidence of recent activity.
Three hives (D, F and G) show evidence of recent brood emergence. There were also hundreds of dead mites. Hive D had been especially prolific. There was also crystallised sugar which suggests that old honey is being eaten or cells are being cleaned out.
Hive E is very cross. I think that it may be low on stores. I tried to take the lid off to feed it. They went for me in full attack mode. Buzzng my head and my hands. My legs had at least a dozen bees attached, all trying to sting me.
The National Bee Unit issues alerts. I received an alert today (15th June) about starvation. I received one last year on 30th June. It's getting to be a habit.
I've been anticipating a nectar flow from the Lime trees next to my out apiary but it now looks like that won't happen. I visited the hives this evening and it looks pretty certain that the two newly established colonies (Hives F and G) have very low stores.
I looked into the out-apiary hives yesterday. I found about 20 frames of honey which can be harvested. I also found wonky comb in the super on top of Hive E.
I really want the comb to be built in a regular pattern. The comb from the new swarms in Hives F and G are beautifully straight and regular. This is the comb within the Commercial brood bodies. Large, flat sheets of comb which is at least as good as you'd get with foundation.
I had a look at the hive floors in the out-apiary this morning. In the order which I looked at them:
Hive G: lots more comb built. Small numbers of dropped Varroa.
Hive F: lots more comb built. Large numbers of dropped Varroa.
Hive D: lots of activity - evidence suggesting a large number of emerged brood. Large numbers of dropped Varroa.
Hive E: quieter than C and D. Some evidence of brood emerging
Hive C: lots of activity - evidence suggesting a large number of emerged brood. Relatively small numbers of dropped Varroa.
I went to the visit the bees at my out-apiary this morning. I took the lids off the hives but left the brood area alone (except for Hive F) because the air temperature was cool. Everything was finished by 0630.
A side effect of looking at hives in the early morning is that all their flying bees are still in the hive. These are the bees which are most likely to defend the colony. As a result the bees seemed noticeably more angry when I opened the hives.
All the hives have plenty of space, with the possible exception of E.
I opened all the hives today to look inside. Apart from the issues caused by queen exclusion, everything seems to be going well.
Hive G is building comb and looks healthy.
Hive F is building comb but still dropping lots of Varroa.
Hives C, D and E have space and show evidence of recent comb building.
They're all going well. I still see no evidence that any of these colonies swarmed to produce Hive G. I assume that it was a coincidence. That means that it has not come from an untreated colony.