Thursday, 7 August 2008

That was the worst flooding we've had for several years; my plot drained in 24 hours, but other people didn't get off so lightly. Something's hit the tomatoes. My neighbour thinks it's blight, but they don't have the classic symptoms, so I'm hoping it's just the effects of the flood, and they'll recover. Otherwise, the sweet corn is flourishing, but the squashes are a mixed bunch. The plants in full sun are flourishing, but anything with any shade at all has just sulked and done nothing. I often underplant them with corn, or anything which is due to come out within a short time, but this year it just hasn't worked at all.

Those two swarms are both flourishing, with lots of flat-topped worker brood. The 'foreign' colony is well on the way to raising a new queen, from a frame of brood of my own strain. So no problems there. The trick is to get rid of their queen, and give them a week or so, in which they start raising new queens. Then destroy all the queen cells. By that time, thier own brood is too old to be converted into queens.

Give them a frame of eggs and young brood of a strin you do want, and they have no choice but to raise a queen from it. Leave it four days, then break down any capped cells. They cap then five days after hatching, andanything capped after four days was raised from a larva which was too old to make a good queen. Leave them a couple of open cells, and let them get on with it. As long as there are hives nearby with lots of drones, it usually works.

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