I helped Roger with his hive inspections this morning, opening up both hives and checking for progress. This involves looking at each frame and working out whether there are eggs, larvae, nectar, honey and so on.
The comb makes wonderful patterns, and sometimes the bees produce protuberances at the bottom of the frames – they fill any tiny spaces with propolis, but larger spaces get filled with honeycomb and it’s not quite as regular a structure as you expect.
One of the jobs is to find the queen to check she’s still there. You can tell she’s there if there are eggs, of course, but for some reason beekeepers like to look for her too. In one of Roger’s hives, the queen is marked with a blue dot, which makes the task easier. In the other hive the original queen swarmed this spring, so the queen is a new one and hence unmarked. We saw them both (yay!) but I only got a photo of the marked one. She’s on the top left of this frame:
Zooming in she’s fairly obvious!
Once the hive is reconstructed the bees are still a bit angry, buzzing around the entrance. But they’ll be back to normal soon.