June 6, 2015
We checked out all three hives today starting with Queen Anya's kingdom. She is laying brood all over the frames. We decided to add a third super to give her and her subjects plenty of room to expand and make honey. With all the brood in there, they will be exploding with bees soon.There were a few empty queen cells which is a common practice of Russian bees. They sometimes build "practice" cells, but there was no sign they are getting ready to swarm.
We checked Queen Bianca's hive next and she is busy laying lots of brood as well. We saw the queen in the top box, a pretty little gal. The empty frames we put in last time are being drawn but there is still plenty of room for the workers to collect. We decided to move the bee escape and full box of honey from the big hive to Queen Bianca''s hive. That will make both the smaller hives three boxes and reduce the tall hive to five boxes. Next week we plan to add another working box to Queen Bianca's hive.
Last we went into the big hive. It still has lots and lots of bees and they are busy bringing in nectar and pollen, but there is no laying queen. We did not see a queen at all as we inspected but the four queen capped queen cells that were in there last time are gone so we suspect there is a queen who may not be mated yet or is mated, but not laying. We shifted a box that is mostly empty to a lower position in the hive and moved the box that is almost full of honey to the top box without a bee escape. They still have some capping to do in that box so we want them to keep working there. We hope to get at least three honey supers to harvest this year.
Next weekend we plan to inspect again and if there is still no sign of a laying queen in the large hive, we will move some eggs from one of the other hives into that one. Hopefully that won't be necessary and we'll have a laying queen in a week and can name that hive, but Russians are very slow to requeen.
Looking forward to the honey harvest because we are getting low on boxes! We need to empty those and reuse.
St.. Ambrose and St. Valentine, we ask your intercession to make the tall hive queen right!