It's been some time since I posted; this has been due to work pressures, exhaustion, and recently, the amount of GCSE marking I've taken on. For the last couple of weeks, I've been in school all day, then marking till 11pm or so. Meanwhile, of course, I've been getting further and further behind on the allotment. The end is in sight, however!
I got a couple more colonies of bees a couple of weeks ago; they're hybrid Italians, docile, prolific, and, from what the guy told me, probably swarmier than my existing strain. I need the bees, but I don't particularly want the genetics. So I've been keepng these colonies small by swapping frames of capped brood out into my original colony on a weekly basis. This is now getting to the point where it needs a second broodbox if this is to continue. The theory is that this keeps the new colonies small enough not to produce drones, while the original one produces loads. It can then be split, and it will produce new queens. There should be enough drones by late summer to ensure decent mating, and with so many bees available, there should be some honey despite the split. I just hope it works! The big danger is swarming, but if it looks like doing so, I'll just split it then and there.
Meanwhile, I'm a month behind with my planting out. Fortunately, it's still June, and with term coming to an end,. it should be easier to get to the plot.