I spotted this pair of Bombus terrestis mating on the pavement this morning.
I've been feeling decidedly under the weather, which is why I didn't post last week. The floodwaters have receded, but they've walloped my beans, and the peas are getting nibbled by pigeons. I've put up some netting to scare off the latter; if once they stop, they're unlikely to start again this time of year.
Last week, I squashed the old queen in Hive 3, renamed it Hive 2, since it's in position 2, and now has an unrelated queen, and put the box with the new queen at the bottom. This week, I found three supersedure cells at one end of the box, and eggs (not many of them) at the other. This could be a failing queen, or it could be due to the three frames of foundation I put between the two. I have heard that a barrier across the broodnest can induce cell raising, though I haven't seen it. So I broke down the cells, and left it. If there are still problems next week, they'll have to raise another queen.
Hive 1 was split last week, and given queen cells, so it should have a virgin ready to mate by now. Hive 4 is looking good. Hive 5 gave me the worst stinging I've had in years last week; I think it has to have been down to the thundery weather, as they were OK today. The day before I opened the hives, a neighbour had eight stings from a wasps' nest which I subsequently dealt with. They've got - I hope - a queen ready to mate in the top box, but last week the old queen was failing, and they were raising supersedure cells. She's no loss, but like Hive 2, I don't want her raising a daughter. Any such queen would produce hybrid drones that I don't want. So I broke down cells, last week and again this week. Hopefully the hive should be sorted next week.