Hive 6 is back in a good mood, which is a great relief! Something must have upset it last week, as I didn't get a single sting today. There's still no sign of drone brood. I wish I understood more about the reasons why they do or don't produce it. I didn't have my camera unfortunately, but I potted patches of brood which were being uncapped, with the pupae sitting there looking at me. that's a good sign. It's known as 'hygienic behaviour', and suggests that this particular colony is good at detecting larvae with something wrong with them. If we can breed strains which detect varroa mites in cells and deal with them, we'll be well on the way to breeding a bee that can handle them without chemical assistance.
Hive 4 has a good patch of drone brood coming as long, but not as much as I thought. I'm always optimistic about these things. I need them to have a good big patch or patches capped over by the end of the month so I can raise a couple of queens. I didn't see any evidence of hygienic behaviour, but that could be because they haven't yet got enough bees to spare any for the job of removing sick larvae. Time will tell.
I repotted a Trillium recurvatum which I planted in 2005. It started germinating in the spring of 2007 - they tend to come up over several years - and it now has fat little rhizomes up to two inches long. They need a lot of patience, but it's worth it in the long run. My interest goes back about ten years; I was given several bin liners full of unwanted plants from someone's garden. They were a treasure, mainly Trillium kurabayashii, Cyclamen hederifolium and snowdrops. Some other species were stolen by a neighbour, but I still have those.
How to Pickle Walnuts - part 2
1 day ago