Last Sunday our local beekeeping group (Vale and Downland Beekeepers) came to rosybee for and apiary visit. I found this to a surreal but very pleasant experience; 30 people arrived (I now know we have parking for 15 cars!) in the drizzle. It was far from ideal conditions for opening up any hives but as some of them had come from up to 30 miles away I decided we would inspect the strongest colony under the protection of a large golf umbrella.
I had expected that one of the much more experienced beekeepers would take the lead but in the end I found myself going through the frames and presenting to 30 veiled faces as I went. My discomfort was soon compounded by the discovery that my main hive, from which I had taken an artificial swarm the week before, now had several emergency queen cells. Where was my queen?!? I thought that maybe I had moved her with the artificial swarm so we opened that hive too; no sign of eggs, just a nice capped queen cell. The conclusion was that I had either damaged the queen or must have been a small swarm in spite of my efforts to prevent it. Damn!! its only May and already I have a hive needing to re-queen.
The group then stayed on for tea, cakes (which they all brought with them with maximum efficiency) and a tour of rosybee. I certainly found the afternoon to be very educational and it makes me think that we really must try and invest more time in apiary visits.........just finding the time is a challenge.