Things have been moving on at the SD ranch. I’ve got most of my items potted and seeds sown so looking forward to a bumper harvest. Hopefully much better than the last few years.
The chickens are doing fine in their enclosure, still escaping every time someone makes a mistake with the gate but they are easily caught. I tried including a pair of bantams but the cock spent all its time harassing the hens and even at night went into their coop with them. A failure but not a biggie. Just means I can’t let both coops into the enclosure together. So they take turns on a daily basis. Seems to be working fine. The pair of bantams now seem to be sitting on eggs so I’m watching to see how that goes.
There was significant movement on the bees though over the week. I thought I had found a few Queen cells which means the hive was getting ready to swarm. Called in an expert and discussed options. I wanted to create a new hive making two hives from the one I had which is one option. The other being to destroy the queen cells to prevent a new queen being born. It appears that I didn’t identify the issue correctly, I did have two queen cells but the rest were queen cups, apparently the bees like to build these structures to confuse us for some reason so it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought.
It was decided that as the queen cup was on a full frame of brood which meant it would be easy to create a new hive so I built up a new hive and moved the frames and bees around so that the old hive, with the old queen stayed where they were while the new hive, a frame full of brood and a queen cell plus a bunch of nursery bees were placed a short distance away. In a week or so I should have a new queen and a fully functional second hive gathering honey. The benefit of a second hive with bees is immeasurable as there is so much to go wrong with just one hive that the simple addition of a second hive can resolve. Over the weekend my friend had discovered his queen was dead. By moving eggs and brood from his other hive he has now kick started that hive again.
Bees are one area where you need more than one as a necessity, anything can kill a queen, you can even do it yourself whilst checking the hive. Make sure you have contingency.