This week in Wakefield has been especially sunny and Monday was no exception. As it had been over a week since last seeing the Bees and also my daughter was at her childminders it seemed like the perfect time to do the inspection. Upon arrival at the allotment I got the smoker lit and while that was getting going went and had a look at the apiary; from the other side of the mesh fence I could see several dozen Bees just hovering in front of the hive facing the entrance, these are Bees doing their maiden flight and getting to know what the hive looks like from the outside.
After a quick look I returned to the car to get suited up and then grabbed my smoker and headed into the apiary. At this stage they were very calm and I managed to remove the mouse guard from the entrance of the hive. I then puffed a small amount of smoke into the hive and carefully lifted the lid. Inside I could see that there was very little of the fondant left that I put in prior to winter; next visit I will completely remove it even if there is any left and replace it with a empty super for them to start storing honey in. While checking the supers I did notice a frame with pollen stored which was next to a frame with brood in it. Due to this I was extra vigilant looking for the Queen; I didn't find her but there was plenty of stored honey!
Next I started working through the brood chamber. The first frame had no stores and no brood but the next was a little more encouraging as it had plenty of stored honey in it. The following 2 frames where better still with pollen and brood with Bees all over it. The next frame in was the best of all as I could see very clearly, in all her glory, still with a nice big white spot on her back, Queen Beeatrix! As I watched her walking over the comb I did actually witness her with her abdomen deep in a cell laying a egg! That was all I needed to see so was much quicker checking the rest of the hive. I didn't see any Queen cells yet so don't think they are quite ready for swarming yet!
After putting the hive back together I was talking to my Dad, who was also in the allotment, and he told me the guy in the plot 2 down had been stung 3 times while I was doing my inspection, however he hadn't been stung once and he was only about 4 metres away. The majority of Bees seemed to be flying in the opposite direction as well. He was using his rotavator at the time and me and my Dad believe they didn't like the vibrations. Anyway, I apologized to the guy and he seemed ok, I just hope they don't make a habit of it because if the allotment council start receiving complaints then I may have to re-home the Bees.