Sunday, May 18, 2014

Not much progress

Disappointing day.  I had put the new queen in hive #3 on May 7th, so when I went into the hive today I fully expected (hoped?) to see some good brood production.  What did I see?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zipola.  After my near catastrophe with the delivery of the new queen, now I see no evidence of her at all.  No eggs, larva, zero.  Very upsetting.  So I moved over to hive #2, into which I had placed two frames with very good looking eggs the same day.  I looked for queen cells.  Nothing.  Nada Zip.  What is wrong with these bees??

Mostly likely, the culprit is the really crappy, cold,wet weather we've had in the past couple weeks.  One morning this week, beyond the May 15th historical last day of frost, we had frost.  We've had a lot of rain, many very windy, cool, overcast days, and just not a lot of great climate for the bees to do their thing.

So, I put two more good frames of eggs and young larva in hive #2, one frame in hive # 3. placed a super on hive #1 which is really going gangbusters, and will add more in a week.  The near term forecast is very positive, with highs in the low 70's and lows in the 50's all week.  Many things are in bloom and the bees are all over our neighbor's high bushes which border our lane.  There are a lot of drones in my hive, so availability of drones shouldn't be a problem.  We'll keep our fingers crossed.  Sorry about no photos, but I was totally prepared to take pics of the new queen, queen cells, etc., but no such luck.

Oh, here at least was one good thing that happened this week.  Morels!  Right behind our house. Big, fresh, very tasty yellows.  Fantastic.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Another Near Queen Disaster

I did two splits two weeks ago from our one surviving hive.  Although I couldn't find the queen, I examined each frame I pulled out very carefully and was sure she remained in the original hive.  The first split, which I'll now call hive #2, I will try to have the bees make a queen.  In the second split, hive #3, I planned to introduce a Minnesota hygenic queen. 

I started today by checking on hive #2, looking for any sign of larva or eggs, hoping to find none.  I found none, which meant the queen was still in hive #1.  I found two frames with a lot of good looking eggs in the top box of #1 and put them in the other hive.  I'll pull more frames out in a week.  There were now plenty of drones in the hive, so there should be plenty to mate with the queen when she emerges.

Now, for the queen I ordered.  I've been very happy with B and B Honey Farm and the queens I've gotten from them have been very productive.  I originally was told they would be available last week but when I called to see if I could confirm dates, they said May 5th would be the first date they would send them out.  I asked to be notified via email when they had shipped her and they said they would.  Well, I came in for lunch after working with the bees and Kathy and I were just about to go back out again to work in the garden, etc., when the doorbell rang.  Kathy said "I'll bet that's a queen.", though we had not received an email indicating she had been shipped.  Sure enough, the postal delivery guy had placed the envelope containing the bees between the storm door and front door of the house.  Since the house faces south, this space between the doors can get so hot on a sunny day I can't even touch the surface of the door.  It surely must get 160 degrees or so in that space, enough to fry the queen in a very short time.  If we had already gone out to the back to work, she'd have certainly died. 
Kathy discussed with the mailman the importance of making sure the bees are delivered directly to us.  It clearly says on the package that there are live queen bees enclosed, and our phone number with directions to call us are in big wording on the package as well. He admitted he had not even looked at it.

Anyway, she is now installed and hopefully soon we'll be queenright again in all 3 hives.