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. There were plenty of bees and they were calm so they obviously aren't worried which is a good sign. We'll wait another few weeks and check again for a laying queen. All the rain may have been a problem. The queen that hatched several weeks ago may have never been able to get out for her maiden flight. But we expect at some point all will be well in that hive as well as the two others.

When we came back Sunday after a four day trip to Zelienople for or granddaughter's confirmation we pulled into the driveway and noticed that Queen Bianca's hive had obviously been disturbed. The top two boxes were knocked askew from the bottom two. It had been raining so that wasn't good at all and we had no idea when during our trip it happened. There were no signs of claw marks or animal footprints in the wet ground so what happened is a puzzle. It was fortunate we came back during daylight or we wouldn't have noticed until the next morning. When we inspect the hives we need to use the hive tools to pry the boxes apart. It's hard to imagine what could have knocked the hives askew. Maybe a really fierce wind, but that seems unlikely as well. I think this will join the bee mysteries along with why one of our hives just absconded last fall for no apparent reason.

We saw Queen Bianca today and she is definitely a beauty. She is laying well and that hive should be a good honey producer if all the rain hasn't done in the nectar sources. The black locusts appeared to be a lost cause with the rain and cold. Hopefully, we will get some good sunny weather now and the spring and early summer flowers will produce abundant nectar. 

It only took us about twenty minutes to examine both hives and the bees were so calm we didn't even light the smoker.

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