The queen has just been marked with blue paint. Blue represents year 0 or 5. In this case this queen is a 2015 queen.
Bees busy at the entrance of one of the hives.
A box of new supers with starter strips in the frame, ready to be put on one of the hives. I use starter strips now in brood and super frames. I feel it is more natural for the bees to draw their own cleaner wax. It is cheaper. It allows allows me to harvest cut comb honey. In the brood nest I feel it is cleaner to regularly replace all the comb. Its allows the bees to draw cells to a more natural smaller cell size and it makes cutting out queen cells much easier.
Bees bringing in pollen at one of the poly nuclei.
The queen on the frame. She has green paint on her which is partially worn off. Under the green paint is red paint as she is a 2013 queen. I put on extra paint last year while inspecting this hive as the red paint was almost gone.
I am not too sure of the proper name for this, but at our bee association we always call it 'the crown of thorns'. A young queen has been found on this frame and I trapped her under the crown of thorns so that I could mark her with paint. I also use this to isolate a queen if I need to move her or if I'm manipulating the hive and I'm worried about crushing the queen.
This hive is for honey production. It has twelve frames of brood and two boxes of supers. The number of bees is immense and we hope to get a good honey harvest from this hive. Since we have started to move to poly hives, we have noticed that the queen will lay out to the outside frames, as very little heat is lost and they build up very quickly. I am now phasing out wooden hives in favour of these poly hives.
This hive has drone comb on the corners of the frames and several empty queen cells. I am checking this hive weekly for occupied queen cells, as I expect it to make plans to swarm soon.