Following on from my blog about the lack of activity and the apparent loss of the queen at DecsHive I have been keeping my distance even though I have been going mad to find out if my hive would make it through the long Winter. I say ‘long’ Winter because all the signs are that we are in for a long cold Winter. The hedgerows are full to bursting with blackberries,sloes, damsons,elderberry…..which I have spent hours turning into jams,jelly,sauces and smoothies all while keeping the kitchen in immaculate condition (don’t ask my present wife to verify that last sentence) but we do have a cupboard full for the long Winter. But this is not a blog about foraging recipes, that is on my To Do list, it’s about my bees. So I kept my distance for as long as I could but it was playing on my mind all the time. I was the Iverk Show in Piltown Co Kilkenny, which is a great show and the oldest show of it’s kind in the country. The Kilkenny Beekeepers had a stand and I had a chat with an old member about my hive. He asked were there queen cells and did i think that they might have swarmed again. I told him I thought they had and his advice was right up my street ‘Leave em alone!’ He explained that there would probably be a new young queen and it would take a few days for her to start laying. I was happy just get that reassurance. The following week I decided to check the hive which had been very active over those past few days. Getting my suit on and my smoker lit the anticipation was building. After smoking the hive I took out the first frame and let out a roar of joy, so loud the kids thought I had been stung! ‘We have larvae!’ I shouted. I didn’t delay long and put the frames back in place. The bees were very calm and did not seem to be bothered with me opening their hive just like they were when they first arrived. So there may be less of them but at least the queen is working away and hopefully the hive will be strong enough to survive the long Winter……….