Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Drama Queens

It's been a while since the last bee update. Hive inspections are getting more cumbersome, with so many layers to deal with now! Plus the heat, and being dressed in the crazy suit.

After all the queen drama in the left hive, things seem to be going well. At the last inspection, I was able to find the unmarked new queen, that made this new beek mighty proud. I then attempted unsuccessfully to mark her. Luckily I didn't damage her in that process, as evidenced by the fact that in this weekend's inspection, the brood boxes were full of fresh eggs, larvae and capped brood. A little bit of honey is starting to be collected in the super I put on a few weeks ago. No drama queen there!

A different picture in the other hive. This hive is the one that was on its second commercial queen already, after having started out with a drone layer. It appears that the bees decided they didn't like this queen so much after all... she's gone. No eggs, no larvae. On the upside, I found a few queen cells (in the center of the next picture, three in a row, and one a bit separate). Not high and mighty in size, but hopefully at least one will hatch into a queen that's fit for this picky bunch of bees! I won't know for a few weeks, just like last time, waiting for the virgin queen's mating flights and then a few days to see her first eggs. It's a waiting game! The population seem healthy in size, and the bees were calm and docile, which I took as a good sign.

The queen drama this summer has been something I didn't expect from beekeeping, though I am greatly enjoying how much I'm learning in the process. I was so pleased to be able to recognize an unmarked queen for the first time. In fact, only a week or so later, we visited a museum with an observation hive on Cape Cod, and I was able to figure out that this hive, too, was in transition in between queens! I found the new virgin queen, which had the local beekeeper very excited since he hadn't even spied her yet himself! I'm starting to feel initiated, although I'm sure I'll continue to learn more and more every season.

Can't leave off without showing you 'bearding' - it's what bees do to be cool. Bee cool, hah! (I've been told it's a sign of a beginner beekeeper to keep making 'bee' jokes.... I'll own that until I tire of it!).
See that pile of bees hanging off the bottom board on the right hive? Here's a close up:

My bees have screen bottom boards, so they have ventilation from the bottom of the hive, and plenty of room with the extra super on, so bearding isn't a problem in and of itself. If you ever see it live, don't worry! It's just what bees do to hang out and chill.

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1 comment:

  1. It looks like your hives are well on the way to being productive! Lets hope the bees accept a new queen in your second hive soon. Glad to see that everything is starting to work out!