a french garden

A queen is born

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Perhaps it was only the beginner’s luck, but last year we had three bee swarms that all came directly to a six frame hive that we had placed outside to attract them.

This year we thought we were well prepared with our three polystyrene hives to attract any new swarms.

Swarm fever seems to have been contagious.

Between 14th April and 27th April, we collected a total of nine swarms on trees close to our hives! A couple of days two swarms arrived on the same day.  Three of the swarms came from our own hives.  There are one or two professional beekeepers near us who keep their hives at the edge of the woods.  I assume that the swarms came from there.  We gave all the swarms to our beekeeper friend, Michel, to whom we have always relied for help.  The last swarm we kept for our friend, Angélique, from the bee school.

Queen Angélique for Angélique

When we first noticed a queen cell in Amelia’s favourite hive, Violette, we divided her.  A week later we saw more queen cells and divided her once again.  I know experienced beekeepers would have told us that a division might not prevent swarming – and they were right.  Violette swarmed a week later.  It was a risk, especially as we appreciate that divisions in hives are not always successful.

Three weeks later we inspected all hives as by then all should have had new queens.  To my dismay, there were no brood as yet either in our three hives, nor in the two nukes that we have made divisions.  I was disappointed, but then I read  the very informative blog by Rusty, on ‘When will a newly-hatched queen begin to lay?’   Rusty’s response to that question was:  ‘Holy guacamole, give the woman a chance!’  Despite my impatience, we did exactly as Rusty ‘commanded’.

On 20th May we opened all the hives for inspection.  They all had two or three large frames of brood.

Brood on the newly divided bee hive

I was especially pleased to see that both divisions from Violette had each three frames of lovely brood.  In fact it was not until afterwards that I looked through the pictures Amelia had taken whilst I inspected the hives, that we noticed the new queen.  We placed the first division of Violette into her own 10 frame hive which has now been named Pissenlit, as at this time there are a lot of dandelions growing  in the countryside around us.

New queen bee

The bottom of our garden is once again adorned with active hives, all with new queens.  We will wait for another week or so before we place the second division into her own hive (any suggestion for a name?)

Our beehives at Virollet

The second hive from the right is Queen Angélique, which will be transported to our friend’s house early tomorrow morning.

One final note, I must mention that a couple of weeks ago we attempted to extract honey from one super.  At that time the nectar was mainly from rapeseed flower.  As all beekeepers know, it crystallizes very quickly and is very difficult to spin out in the centrifuge.  We did make a small quantity of honey, and cut up the rest to be used by ourselves and our grateful neighbours as we all love comb honey.

Honey and Comb honey from rapeseed

Kourosh

 

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26 thoughts on “A queen is born

  1. How good to see your hives thriving. The comb honey looks delectable.

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  2. Truly impressive how knowledgeable you have become. What a lengthy but rewarding process.

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    • Thank you, Sue, for your encouragement. I admit that one thing I have NOT yet learnt and that is not too worry so much. And….have patience with the bees. – Kourosh

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  3. It’s your gorgeous garden! Those bees are no fools. They’re lining up for the opportunity to live there.

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    • Oh, you are so kind. The garden flowers are all due to Amelia’s tender care and hard work. I am only the digger! As for the bees, we work together with them and I do hope that they like it here. – Kourosh

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  4. Greetings,
    So nice to see that lovely brood. Very satisfying for you and your bees.
    Regards Janine

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    • Thank you, Janine,
      First thing each morning and last thing in the evening I pop down to the bottom of the garden to ‘talk’ to the girls. Amelia and I care for them almost like any other pet. I certainly feel that I learn a lot from them. I also worry a lot, if something is not quite right for them. – Kourosh

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  5. childhood memories. Grandpa kept bees and from early age on he took me when he visited them. He even had a little safty outfit made for me….:) 🙂 If I only could lay my hand on some of this honey.

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    • Memories are certainly made of these. Your Grandpa must have been someone really special and loved you dearly, and hopefully he engendered in you the love of nature.

      In April I cut up most of the little honey we got into honeycomb as I enjoy taking a slice of honeycomb straight on toast. Delicious! – Kourosh

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  6. You’re very lucky to have so many bees there. You’re obviously doing something right!

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    • Or just lucky, as you say.
      Amelia and I do our best with the bees and try to keep only the plants that the bees love…and no pesticide. – Kourosh

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  7. It is good that you have some reward for all your hard work.

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  8. The honey looks very good.

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  9. Thank you again for the updates on the progress of your Queens. Perhaps I will be able to understand all the beekeeping terms one of these days. And I thank you for my continued education. I look forward to your posts.

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  10. Like John, I am learning a lot from your posts. I don’t know if I could actually cope with the work, however! I’ll stick to providing the nectar for my neighbour’s bees.

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    • Cathy, the best thing that anybody can ever do is to be mindful of the bees and the important thing that they do in pollinating all our flowers, vegetables and fruit…..and not to forget make us lovely honey. – Kourosh

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  11. You have made this look easy, I am guessing it is not, so well done.

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    • Perhaps it is not either easy nor difficult. It just requires patience. And like looking after flowers, the bees do need tender loving care. – Kourosh

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  12. The painted letters on your hive are so lovely and your apiary looks idyllic. The honeybees are flourishing in your garden and no wonder with such good keepers! 🙂

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  13. You are so kind, Emma! I must admit that I have learnt a lot from your (and Emily’s) blogs. And the bees have also taught me a great deal during the past year. I just wish I could also learn patience!
    When we made the second division from Violette, I was rather worried that two division in one week, would weaken her a lot. It certainly did not stop her swarming anyway.
    Last week we inspected the second division which was in a 6 frame nuc. She had made 5 out of 6 frames absolutely full of brood. We transferred her to a full ten frame hive and now have named her Iris, as we have a lot of iris in the garden.
    Thank you. – Kourosh

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