I've met the Queen
Updated: Apr 19, 2019
I didn't have to go to London; she was right here in Devon! As the sun shone I took the opportunity of moving her onto some nice clean comb to lay eggs in. It is good practice to change comb and freshen things up regularly. After a while the comb used as the brood nest will turn dark brown as successive layers of pupal skins, faecal matter & polishing line the cells. The bees do their best to polish them up and sterilise them between uses but it reduces the risk of any pathogens taking hold if dark comb is changed regularly. As each lining reduces the size of the cell there is even a danger that you might produce smaller bees. Giving them new comb, or the chance to produce new comb, not only freshens things up but ensures that laying space is maximised as old comb can get damaged. Laying space certainly doesn't want to be restricted otherwise you may well be faced with managing a swarm. I'll certainly have something to say about swarms in forthcoming posts.
So, I have restricted the Queen from entering the old brood nest by means of a Bailey Board, which is basically a grid with holes large enough to let the nurse bees through to manage the young but small enough to keep Her Majesty from entering and laying more eggs. She can now use the nice new stuff. After 3 weeks, once the brood has all hatched out I will remove the entire box and burn all the really dark comb along with the frames. Any cleaner combs can be rendered down into nice clean wax. It all helps keep things nice and healthy. The Queen looks beautiful and I look forward to seeing how she's got on in a week's time. Hopefully lots of eggs and larva in the clean comb.