Bryn came by for a hive visit yesterday. I put on the bee suit and we examined the smaller “B” hive first, frame by frame. Although this hive is very active, we couldn’t see any evidence that there was a queen (no new larvae).
The former queen left hive 82 on June 13. The”B” hive was created by splitting the existing hive because it was still very crowded. We saw several queen cells when we split the hive, but they may have all been in hive 82. The gestation period for a new queen is 16 days, 5 days to mature and after mating, another 5 days to start producing larvae. So, it is possible that there is a new queen in the “B” hive who hasn’t started to lay yet.
News from hive 82 was much better. Again, we examined every frame of this hive as well. The top layer of the hive (which is a half-size hive) is filling with honey. Halfway through the second box we found larvae and the queen! I held the frame, Bryn held down the queen and labelled her with a green dot. You can see the marked queen in the photo above. She is much larger than the rest of the bees, and her abdomen is shaped differently.
Bryn put an “excluder” between the brood box and the honey box. This looks like an oven rack, with metal rods that are too narrow for a queen to pass. This keeps the brood is in the bottom box and honey on the top. Bryn then removed the “B” hive (possibly queenless) to a new home. All good!
Apart from that, work in the garden continues. Recent rains mean that there is much weeding to do. I’ve been removing fading blooms and seed pods, pulling up grasses and cutting back branches. I’ve also spent hours picking raspberries and wild strawberries each day. The raspberries are producing more than a liter of berries per day.
Today I intended to get up early and start in the garden, but instead got sidetracked by the newspaper and some other reading, then started to make “The Ultimate Summer Dance Compilation”: 7 hours and 14 minutes (6 CDs). A dubious selection of 109 songs spanning five decades. Enough procrastination. Time to get outside!!!
I’m enjoying your hives, vicariously….and I love the adventures you are having. Hope your queen settles in!