April 29 Inspection
I made the decision to move the bees onto new comb with a method called the Bailey Comb Change and is a slow method but more gentle to the bees.
Basically what you do is place a new Brood Box over the top Brood Box on the hive filled with new frames and the bees will in time start to make comb and the queen is attracted to the comb and starts to lay in the cells. When you inspect and find the queen in the new BB you fit a Queen Excluder between the new BB and the old BB confining the queen to the new BB this will encourage the bees to fill the BB with new comb.
You leave the Queen Excluder in place for approx 21 days this allows for the brood in the rest of the hive to emerge and are not lost. After the 21 days have passed the other BB’s can be removed repaired if they require it scorched with a blow lamp to disinfect the inside of the boxes and in this case the frames burnt as they are to old to consider reuse after cleaning and sterilising.
May 7th Inspection
Managed to inspect despite the bad weather and not totally surprisingly the bees had hardly started to produce any comb as with little forage around they wont waste their time building it when its not needed so I swapped some of the new frames with the old frames to help to encourage them to build comb in the new frames but what we really needed was an upturn in the weather.
May 16th Inspection
The bees had now built a reasonable amount of comb and the queen was found laying happily on one of the new frames, so a quick swap back of the old and new frames and Queen Excluder fitted to the old BB and the new BB with queen and bees placed on top.
The bees on this inspection were very flighty and not quite but almost grumpy I have put this down to the bad weather as they have been confined to quarters. Alex helped me on this inspection as he does when he has time and we had a good few hundred bees around us at one time and a few spotted a tear on Alex’s trousers they like holes and made a beeline to it to investigate but the trusted role of gaffer tape once more saved the day.