Time : 11am

Weather : Sunny spells. 19 °c

We were fortunate to have a lovely warm morning for the 3rd inspection of the season. A number of new faces turned up too, which is always good to see. In attendance were Geoff, Penny, Tom, Adam, Neil, John D, James and myself. 

We were yet again somewhat fortunate with the timing of the inspection. Whilst preparing for the group to arrive, I noticed a bit more activity than usual at the front of the hex hive, Rose. As I stood there observing, the noise level ramped up a gear, and yes it was swarming! I donned on my veil and sat right in front of the hive to observe the whole affair. What a privilege and a joy to see, bees following their natural instincts. The swarm settled nicely on a nearby apple tree, just in time for the arrival of the group. Geoff kindly demonstrated how to catch a swarm to those who had yet to experience such an event. One lucky attendee went home with a nuc full of Heligan bees!

The inspection was also very positive. All five hives including the tree hive seemed in good health, with good queen laying patterns and plenty of stores. One point to note is that there has been no sign of any chalkbrood in any of the hives this spring – I’m pretty confident we can attribute this to the attention given to the insulation and ventilation of the hives.

In brief: 

Hive Id: Rose

Type: Roseland Hex Hive – No.Supers: 3 – Insp.Aim:  Check for space  

As this hive had just swarmed, I didn’t want to do anything other than check the top box for space. A quick peak confirmed that there were enough empty frames.

Hive Id: Bluebell

Type: National – No.Supers: 1 B.Box + 2 supers – Insp.Aim:  Full Inspection             

This colony has been progressing well. Good laying pattern, stores and calm bees.

Hive Id: Primrose

Type: Rose – No.Supers: 2 Supers – Insp.Aim:  Check for space

This was again looking strong and healthy. Probably time to put another super on top in a couple of weeks. Bees calm.

Hive Id: Clover 

Type: Rose – No.Supers: 1- Nat B.Box  1 – Rose Super – Insp.Aim:  Laying Q?

This colony is again going to be used for the observation hive for the coming Heligan events. The colony has expanded somewhat making it more difficult to find the queen when we need to. With more room needed, we put a queen excluder under the new super. Not something I usually like doing, but its only for a short period of time and it will cause less stress on the colony when looking for a frame with the queen on

Hive Id: Poppy

Type: Rose V3 – No.Supers: 3 Supers – Insp.Aim:  Check Progress

This has now been gradually converted to a Rose Hive V3, clad with the permanent cork insulation. Added a needed 4th super. These bees were very calm again.


3rd time we have opened up the observation panel to have a brief check for progress. It’s always a pleasure and my favourite moment. They are almost oblivious to our presence. First time I have used no gloves but the tree colony gives you that kind of confidence and leap of faith. The comb is progressing downwards well.


All in all another well timed inspection and I cant stop thinking to myself how privileged we are as a group to have an apiary in such an ideal setting. 

Simon Kellam

Apiary Manager


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