Today's check was carried out by Rachel, Paul and Donald. After last weeks check it was obvious that the bees were hungry so they have been having sugar syrup all week. The 'new' hive showed signs of putting this syrup down on the comb and the number of sealed and unsealed brood had gone up but numbers are still low, probably about at the same level they were last June when they arrived. We saw the new queen, shes quite buxom so shes seems very healthy and robust!
The other hive is a different matter. The numbers here were very low and we could see no eggs, only a couple of drone brood and unsealed brood cells. We didn't see the queen but worse still a couple of bees were showing signs of chronic bee paralysis virus. The symptoms are bees on the top bar with shiny black bodies and the appear to tremble. This is caused by active bees being confined to the hive, in this case by the rain. They are constantly brushing against each other which leads to loss of body hair, these small abrasions then allow the virus to transfer from diseased to healthy bees. There is no cure but healthy colonies will survive, however as our colony is small this may be serious. We moved the 2 hives away from each other by 45% to avoid bees drifting from one to the other. Martin will come up and have a look at some point but we may find ourselves back down to one colony. Please all dig out your rain dance outfits and pray for a prolonged dry spell! Thank you Paul for the photos.