17 June 2017
We have had a week of lovely weather. If there is a Queen in the hive she should have had time to have her virgin flight and come back and start laying. However most of our minds this week have been with our neighbours down the road.
The column of smoke from the terrible Grenfell Tower fire which started on the night of the 14th June was visible from my roof terrace all day on the 15th. It is due East of this flat, perhaps a mile or so away. Apart from being glued to the television, worrying about the people and wondering what one could do to help, I decided not to open the hive. Who knows what pollutants were in the air.
This isn’t the place to express my extreme anger. I was born and raised in that Borough. How can the council react so slowly to such need, whether they caused it or not?
Maybe it is the place. It is now the 1st July. The council leader has resigned and the borough has just realised that it is unreasonable to still charge rent to those whose flats they have burnt down and those many neighbours who don’t have hot water as their boiler was in the basement of Grenfell Tower. These may seem minor considerations, but when you are among Mrs May’s JAMs (Just about managing) financial things like this are crucial. If the council actually thought or cared about its tenants a rent stop should have been immediate. It would have been such an easy thing to do, admin wise.
I understand very well the anger of the tenants, their feeling that they don’t matter. The initial reaction of the borough council should have been, ‘We are so sorry. We don’t know what happened, but we will find out. We remain your landlord, you are all our responsibility, so what can we do today to help sort things out? There was no warmth or caring in their response.
The whole of London wanted to help. Instead of organising this good will effort the borough officials dithered. We gather there is a Pan London Disaster Plan, but the borough where it occurs has to ask for help. For a crucial two days Kensington didn’t. As a result all of us individuals did what we could. People turned up with clothes, bedding, nappies, food and even pushchairs. Many of these donations are now stored in local churches etc and may well end up in jumble sales for the fund. This enormous emotional response to other peoples agony could have been so much more efficiently channelled and therefore so much more effective had officialdom stepped in and organised it.
One bit of useful practical help I happen to know about was offered by my granddaughter’s school. The school in the shadow of the Tower had to close. Many children were in the middle of their crucial state exams. My granddaughter’s school, perhaps a mile and a half away, took the children and teachers in, gave them space and let them get on with their schooling. My granddaughter says, ‘They keep getting lost and have to be shown where to go.’
I will stop now, but the anger remains. The citizens volunteers of that borough put on the Notting Hill Carnival every year, a major organisational feat. Their paid borough administrators can’t even even get their act together to sort out the roofs and utilities they are legally committed to provide.
Back to bees!
Today however when Hebe gets here I think we will open up and assess the situation in the hive.
We opened the hive and did a careful inspection of all the frames. The upper super of six frames had drawn up honey stores on five frames and nectar on the sixth. No brood of any sort seen. The lower box had capped drone cells on the first three frames, but far fewer than on 5th June, so lots have hatched.
The fourth frame was the test frame, the donation from Pip and W. on 24th May. There were AGAIN two queen cups, charged, with larvae clearly visible, but they weren’t the same cups as last time. The biggest was smaller than the one seen on 5th. There was no sign of eggs or worker capped cells.
Conclusion: A) I have some laying workers who wouldn’t tolerate the queen cells that were grown from the test frame and took them down.
- B) That queen cell hatched and flew off with some bees and the new cells are a replacement.
Not too much idea of what is going on. I will ask the guru, W. However there is a lot of honey, unfortunately on brood sized frames. I wonder if these fit in a centrifuge. I must ask Pip.
Hebe and I inspected the hive in detail. The previous embryo queen cells had dried out. There was no evidence of a queen but lots of larvae and all capped brood cells were drones. There is a lot of honey though. Hebe, with the red gloves, held a couple of the frames while I photographed
them on the ipad with the pen thing. That seems to work.
I clearly have laying workers, which are a bad thing. I am also, for family reasons, moving back to Devon. What I think I shall do is let these bees live out their span as they are still making honey and then move my empty hives to Devon and start again, maybe with the native British Black Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera or AMM)