Monday, July 25, 2011

What's with the queens?

     I opened the hives to check for progress today after being gone for 9 days.  No additional super needed in hive #2, though they are slowly working on it.  So I decided to check to see how the queen was faring.  I found a lot of capped worker cells but NO larva.  Also no apparent queen.  Now, I could have missed her since she isn't marked and I was mostly looking for frames with some young larva on them, suspecting she would be close by.  Still, she is such a new queen and  I doubt they would have swarmed in the past week.  I decided to pull a frame out of the other hive with eggs just in case.  I have two supers on that hive, and they are working on the top  one but the first super is really full of honey and quite heavy.  I can't imagine lifting down a 60 lb. super from the top of a stack of 6 boxes!  Probably won't have to do that this season unless the fall goldenrod flow is strong.
      So, I proceded to go down into that hive.  I skipped the top brood box since it looked from above to be mostly honey.  In the other two boxes, I found a lot of capped brood, generally good pattern, but only a few larva and again, though she is marked, no queen.  Again, there were many, many bees and I could have easily overlooked her.  Still, has the heat wave shut the queens down?  Are we going to have to requeen again in the spring?  Certainly, it's too late in the season right now.

     The bees continue to work on cleaning out the several frames I have in the little nuc.  They must have been working on this all week while we were gone.
     Bees are also working the prairies.  They're in full bloom right now.  The bees don't seem to be on it as much as I'd think, though, with so many flowers blooming.
There were also little green bees and several others pollinating the plants.  On the pumpkins, we found squash bees.  They look much like      honey bees, only a bit smaller.  They seem to be a bit quicker on the wing as well.  If you have any plants in the squash family, such as pumpkins, gourds, zucchini, squash, etc.,  you probably have squash bees outnumbering your honey bees.
     So, getting back to the queen situation, I guess I'll just watch things for awhile.  In several weeks, if we get into a little cooler spell, I'll check again to see if queens are laying.  Otherwise, keep fingers crossed and hope they make it through the winter queenless.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fully Queenright

Just a quick note.  We checked hive #1 into which we introduced the new queen about 10 days ago.  In the top brood box, I first looked at a frame that had drone cells along the bottom edge, but no worker cells.  I was worried we might have developed laying workers.  On the next frame, though, we had a pretty decent pattern of capped worker cells and some larva several days old.  I was satisfied, so we didn't dig deeper (humidity overpowered curiosity--we were dripping, though it was only 80 degrees).
They  were starting to work on the second super and the first super was much heavier than a week ago.  We'll definitely have some honey again this year.  We peeked at hive #2 and they had made some progress there in the super as well, but not nearly as much, with only about 4 out of 9 frames fully drawn out.