Cut and pasted from my other recent post....
Marking a queen.....
As mentioned in my previous post, the regional bee inspector and his partner had kindly offered to bring a "nuc" down for me, as I am unable to lift, or walk far due to an injured back.
After installing the "nuc" see herehttp://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=876
They asked when I had last been able to check my active colony. 2 weeks, as I have been unable to lift anything.
So, another clean of the tools, and a change of gloves (to eliminate any cross contamination of disease) and they set to work.
This is the hive. It started as 4 frames at the start of season, and was donated to me for free by a colleague at work who keeps bees. (This was tremendously nice, as he subsequently found out his three hives he had one that didn't make it through the winter, one he gave to me, and one was found to to be without a queen. Fortunately, he has picked up a swarm recently, so should be back up and running.)
Being a beginner, I realised I had to feed them, but put the feeder direct onto the queen excluder. After a week or two, the bees were building brace comb into the space inside the super, so I stopped feeding and added a super with foundation. This was a mistake, as they stopped drawing foundation in the brood box, thereby restricting the space for the queen to lay. I was about to remove the super, and let them build up the brood space, but the back injury prevented this. However, the bees seem to be doing just fine without any intereference from me.
This is the hive, homemade stand, a donated brood box, a bought super (western red cedar) and a homemade roof. click on image for larger view
They lifted the super off, and we can see the brood box is increasing, they are up to about 7 frames now (and quite a few in the super - this is detailed below). This picture shows the 7th frame, they are just starting to draw it out. Some capped honey is visible at the top. click on image for larger view
This is quite a messy comb, it has some drone cells, and a few queen cups, this was one that arrived with the colony. I will replace it eventually click on image for larger view
This shows a frame with some capped brood, and some larvae. My teachers were outstanded as the bees stood almost motionless for the duration of the inspection, really calm, and no stringing. click on image for larger view
Nice and busy! click on image for larger view
Now maybe 'cos I wasn't really looking for her, or maybe because I was stood a little further away, I spotted the queen - for the first time since owning this colony. I have no trouble finding the queens in the teaching apiary - just my own. Alan explained it is often easier to see the queen when stood slightly further back, and not with your face right up against the comb, and also I noticed they use less smoke than me, another lesson learnt.
Anyway, they picked her up and marked her, using a green pen, to indicate this year. click on image for larger view
And here she is, just been put back onthe comb - should be a lot easier to find from now on! click on image for larger view
A nice frame of brood click on image for larger view
A busy frame with brood, pollen and nectar click on image for larger view
A quick check of the supers to finish off - this is well on the way, capped honey in the top click on image for larger view
Finally, lid back on and we are all done! I did, quite literally nothing, but I supplied a couple of bottles of fine wine to say thankyou, they were reluctant to accept, but finally accepted with the understanding of how grateful I was for some assistance. click on image for larger view
Everything back to normal!!! click on image for larger view
PS: You are welcome to copy any of the images for any non-commercial purpose, I hereby grant permission.