Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24: Still No Laying Queen Rachel

Gorgeous day today, nice and warm with slight breeze -- perfect weather for a bee inspection. We only examined Queen Bianca's hive and what will be Queen Rachel's. Still no laying queen in Rachel's hive but two queen cells -- one in the middle of a frame (a supercedure cell) and one at the bottom (usually swarm cells, although this hive can't possibly be getting ready to swarm). All the brood we put in ten days ago has either hatched or is now capped.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Rainbow Kind of Day...

...dark clouds and rain one minute, brilliant sun the next. And what does that mean?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Well, What Do You Know! Black Pollen!

I was out putting another box on our small hive this afternoon and spent about ten minutes watching the girls going in and out. I noticed a number of bees with BLACK pollen. I've never seen that before so I came in and did a search. I found a blog that described black and white pollen from poppies. I noticed the wild orange poppies blooming a few days ago so I'm guessing that's where it'c coming from. It'a a little hard to see against a black and yellow bee, but notice the seed-shaped black pollen on the bee below right under the line of the wing. I've seen yellow, orange, red, greyish-green, but this is the first time I've EVER seen black. Go, girls, go! See more photos at the TrogTrogBlog.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 12 Bee Inspection: Illegal Immigrant Ants in Anya's Kingdom!

Well we checked out all three hives and, despite all the rain, they are busy collecting nectar and capping honey. Starting with the new hive, we looked for a queen, but didn't see one. The queen cell was open and the hive was calm so it's likely they have a queen who may not be mated yet or is mated but hasn't started to lay. All the brood in the hive has hatched so, in case they don't have a queen at all, we took two frames of brood including eggs from Bianca' hive and put them in. If there's no queen, they'll raise one. We'll add a third box on that hive because most of the frames are full of bee bread and nectar.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Adding boxes to the Hives

The weather has been very uncooperative from a beekeeping point of view. We have wanted to examine the hives for the past week, but between rain, wind, and commitments, sunshine and opportunity have not met.

Today, despite the rain we had a window of dry, so we added boxes to Queen Bianca and Queen Anya's kingdoms. That only takes about a minute: take off the top, take off the inner cover, add the new box and replace the inner and outer covers.

I spent about an hour cleaning up boxes and frames for the addition and we now have three hives with four boxes on Bianca's hive (which was not split), four on Queen Anya's and two on the new hive.  We still need to get in there to look for evidence of a laying queen. No need to add another box there until we have new brood hatching which takes about .With all the rain we fear the queen, even if present, may not have been able to get our for a mating flight. It will be a month since we made the split on May 14th and hopefully we'll have good weather by then to check things out.

We also need to see if Queen Bianca is thinking of swarming. She wasn't two weeks ago, but things can change rapidly in the Spring. So that's our status as of today. Now we just need better weather so the girls can go to work collecting nectar to make honey.