Though the main body of this post is about the inspection I did on Wednesday 14th I will mention quickly that me and Steph did an inspection a couple of weeks ago. At this inspection all went well in the hives. The small hive is building up nicely and the new colony created using the snelgrove board seems to be thriving though I still haven't done a full inspection on that one. When packing up the hives some of the Bees started getting rather persistent so we left the apiary and walked far enough away so they wouldn't follow.... or so we thought; we had just taken our suits off and a bee started going for my face so I quickly went in the opposite direction to get away. Steph wasn't quick enough and received her first ever sting, on the forehead! Luckily she didn't have a reaction. She was literately saying 5 seconds before how she had never been stung!
The next inspection I did solo and that went well. All 3 colonies seem to be doing well, plenty of brood, eggs and stores in each. There were loads of flying Bees about especially from the colony that has been created most recently with the snelgrove board. The smallest hive is still progressing nicely though I would like it to be a bit stronger going into winter; I think that starting next week I will start feeding that colony to give it a boost.
When I was packing up the last hive I felt a scratch on my ankle so looked down to see the culprit...To my horror as I looked there were 3 or 4 Bees going to town on the same spot on my ankle. At first there wasn't much pain and shortly after there was an intense itching. I finished packing up quickly and got away from the Bees in case any more decided to have a go. When my suit was off and I was safely back in the car I rolled my trouser leg up and had a look at the damage; my ankle was sore but not swelling too bad. By the time I got home it had started to swell and by the next day my work shoes felt quite tight. Luckily that's the only reaction I had and now, a week later, my ankle is back to normal!
Since that inspection I have made and painted another hive stand. Yesterday (23/08/2013) I went down to the Bees and separated the colonies that were on top of one another with the snelgrove board separating them. The top hive was moved about 15 foot away and placed on my new stand; this went off without a hitch (and thankfully without any stings). My apiary looks good now with all 3 hives in it but will look better if they all make it through the winter strong. As mentioned earlier I have started feeding my smallest hive. It has a half gallon of syrup in a feeder above the colony and with any luck they will use it to build up a little faster; we'll see.
At the moment there is loads of Himalayan Balsam in flower all around the apiary. This is an excellent source of nectar and pollen for the Bees. I did try to take a good photo of the Bees in the flowers. I wasn't very successful; the Bees were being too busy and moved before the picture was taken. Below is one of the better ones although it's still not great!