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  • Writer's pictureLinda

Know when to leave well alone...

Cliffe Castle Bee Blog #14 2023

Yesterday (Monday 3 July) was too cold and blustery to disturb the bees without good reason. Steve and I left the Cliffe Castle colony well alone, to keep warm and allow the queen to get on with laying eggs.

Every inspection causes some disturbance to a colony. Honey bees work hard to maintain a steady temperature in the brood nest of around 35°C, the optimal temperature for eggs and brood to develop successfully. Exposing the brood nest to external temperatures, whether warmer or cooler than this, has an impact.

Opening up to complete checks also causes the bees to raid their food stores, just in case the colony may have to leave their nest and find new accommodation.

Young bees drawing comb need warmth to stimulate the production of wax from the four pairs of glands under their abdomen, and then to manipulate the wax plates they produce to form the hexagonal cells that make up the comb.

Bees working comb. Credit: Vita Europe

Without needing to check, we know that the Cliffe Castle colony already has plenty of space (the queen was laying on just four out of nine frames at last week’s inspection) and they are still drawing comb on the outer frames that we added recently. So, there is no swarm risk to concern us.

Let’s see what next week brings when Lee and I are due to visit.



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