Saturday, July 18, 2009

Inspection 7-18-09

After coming home from the bee club picnic, I had time to do an inspection of my little corner of the beekeeper world. I was interested in seeing more evidence of the laying queen, and I wasn't disappointed:

In the first picture, you see some eggs (the little white specks in the cells). The 2nd shows some eggs (bottom) and larvae (center). On the right picture you see some capped brood. According to bee math, things are progressing as they should based on the queen starting to lay eggs a week and a half ago.


I saw something which was a little concerning. Look in the 3rd picture above - that little peanut-shaped cell in the center of the frame is a queen supercedure cell. The workers make those when they believe that the queen they have isn't performing up to snuff. I found 3 of those, which I removed. I think they built those because they had been queenless for so long (a few weeks). I'm going to give this new queen a good chance to succeed, and she doesn't need some competition. I didn't see the actual queen this inspection (she must be shy). I'll keep looking!

I also noticed that the queen was laying exclusively in the top brood box. The bottom box had a lot of empty cells, plus cells with nectar and pollen. I decided to stop feeding, and put on a honey super to see if they would start drawing that comb out. I left off the queen excluder for this week - some people think that the excluder inhibits the workers from drawing out the comb. We'll see.

The frames I use are plastic foundation coated with beeswax. A month or so ago I noticed the bees had stripped off the beeswax from a couple of my frames (to use elsewhere). So far the bees aren't building comb on the bare plastic foundation. I'm going to give them another week, and if they still aren't interested, I'm going to put in an empty frame and see if they build comb from scratch (called foundationless frames).

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