Copper Bee Apiary

A garden apiary in Whittlesford, Cambridge, UK - honey bees and their beekeeper Hilary van der Hoff.

Ottilie, Peony & Queenie


Queen Ottilie,

who came in with the first colony of bees that chose Copper Bee Apiary as their home, arriving in the bait hive on 7th May.  She is copper with black stripes. Judging by the age of the brood when I first checked on the colony, they were a prime swarm with a mated queen, i.e., the first (and perhaps only) swarm to leave their previous hive, taking the original queen. She is therefore likely to be at least a year old, possibly several years old.

New comb, freshly drawn by Queen Ottilie's bees in a foundationless frame, with eggs and young larvae in cells on the right, and with pollen in cells on the left and the upper cells.

Queen Peony,

who came in with the second colony of bees, also of their own accord. They arrived in the second bait hive on 19th May. Queen Peony is golden with brown stripes. 11 days after arrival, there is already sealed brood in the hive, so it seems they were also a prime swarm.

Can you see Queen Peony?

She's this long bee:

Queen Peony

Although it's dark old comb, you may also be able to see young larvae at the bottom of the cells.

Queen Queenie,

my newest queen. She is the daughter of Queen Nefertiti, who died during transport from the orchard. Queen Queenie is tortoiseshell/golden striped. I was delighted to see her today when I opened the hive. She will, with luck, be just beginning to lay, so I hope to find brood next time I check on this colony.

Our family tree has lots of new growth this spring!

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