Today I ambled down to the allotment to sort out the chickens and check on Sophie’s tree.
As per usual, the chickens made a racket upon my arrival and announced their disapproval at my tardiness. Once fed they settled down and got busy with the important business of laying eggs.
I had a good check of Sophie’s tree – it’s doing really well in the unending heat. The olives, whilst still tiny, are growing bigger every day. I don’t know whether the heat wave will last long enough for the olives to grow and ripen but even to have small ones is rather impressive!
Later, I went back to help Steve and Phil with the hive check. In the last couple of weeks, they have been busy looking after the hives and have transferred the nuc colony to a proper, newly built hive as well as adding new brood boxes to the other hives.
We checked each hive in turn, checking for Queen cells, eggs and the Queen herself. It was the first time I have seen the new Queens that Steve and Phil bought and put into the struggling hives. Each new Queen has a red dot on her back and it makes it so much easier to spot her!
The Queen lays tiny white elongated eggs in the centre of each cell in the honeycomb. They are difficult to spot and even harder to photograph!
All the hives are busy and calm but they are not as productive as last year. Steve thinks this could be due to the heat. Bees are vulnerable to overheating and in order to survive, they tend to eat their honey stores. This means, there won’t be much of a honey crop this year but the main thing is that the colonies survive another year.