Saturday, July 11, 2009

Inspection 7-11-09

It's Saturday and that means it's time to inspect the beehive!

I started with the full hive. We had a queen last week, and I was interested in finding her and/or seeing evidence of her activity. Since last week she would have had to go on a mating flight, so I wasn't sure if she were ready to start laying eggs yet.

As I inspected the hive, I saw lots of pollen and nectar/sugar syrup. I suspect it is the syrup since I have been feeding them. But when I put the most recent jar on, they haven't been taking much; bees will choose nectar over sugar syrup, so that means that there must be enough nectar.

I was looking at the top layer, and I didn't see any eggs. Oh well, maybe on the bottom. I got though about 1/2 of the bottom frames, and still nothing - I was getting worried. Then on one of the frames I saw a patch of newly laid eggs! Yippie - I have a queen! I never saw here, but new eggs are just as good as seeing here as far as proof goes.

Here's another shot of the bottom box from above. The bees were very clumpy in the lower corner; so much so I had to give 'em a dose of smoke to get them to break up so I could put the frame back in!

I also noticed that some of the new frames we had added weren't drawn out to comb yet. I am hoping that is because there wasn't a laying queen yet to need to fill them up. Maybe now that she is laying eggs, she'll kick into high gear and the bees will get, well... busy! I kept the jar of syrup on for them to finish up.

Then I moved on to the smaller Nuc (nucleus) hive. I noticed that they hive has been consuming the sugar syrup like gangbusters, almost too fast that I feared a leak. I was worried I was going to open the hive and see a lump of sugar syrup on the frames! Well, I opened it up, and it was dry as normal. But the bees weren't very active. Here's a shot:

The frames looked pretty empty (due to the brood which was there having been born) and I didn't see any new eggs or a queen. I saw the queen cells on the bottom still there, so there is hope that a new queen may be born. But it could be that this little hive may die out. I don't know if I want to buy a new queen and start a full hive or not. We'll see how mother nature works things out.

One thing I suspect happened is that there was robbing going on. There were some frames of stored honey/syrup in the nuc, but not enough to account for the 2 jars the bees appeared to have consumed. I think other bees (maybe from the hive next to it) came in and robbed the syrup. The house bees don't like it when this goes on, and it could have upset the virgin queen that was there and something happened to her.

In any case, I'm going to let things go for another week and see how things progress.

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