Traffic jam

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For bees, when you remove the entrance block reducer, it must be like opening patio doors wide on the first hot day in the year. They've spent six months or more with this little gap in their entrance. It makes defence of the hive easier and helps with the cold, but this afternoon there were noticeable queues, and the blocks were removed from both hives.

Inspecting the colony itself, everything looked great. You might remember that over winter they had occupied the northmost seven frames of the brood box. Now temperatures are warming up, plenty of the bees were at the cooler south side of the hive. I could see that comb was being drawn out on the remaining frames, so as an experiment I took an empty frame from the cooler south side and put it first, on the north side. I'm told that the queen prefers to lay where it's warmer, so in this weather it might give her more room. However, this isn't a trick to try in cooler weather, when you run the risk of chilling the brood. In any case, it won't be long before a super will be added to the hive. Dave has already added one to his.

Talking of brood, there was still loads in all stages, from egg to emerging bee. Again, I didn't see the queen but I don't really look very carefully any more. I just look for those tiny eggs. There's also a lot of comb production, not only on the empty frames but also burr comb dangling from the frames. It was a bit unruly so I had to break it off.

No signs of disease, pests or anything else like that. And again, they weren't even grumpy with me. Another great inspection.

Colony ID
Queen seen?
Queen cells
Brood
Framefuls of stores
Frames available for brood
Health
Estimated mites
Temper / docility
Feed given
Treatment given
Supers added
Weather
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