Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

Did a full inspection of all of the hives and nucs today.

Green Hive

The green hive is still doing well. After I made the splits last week, I put undrawn foundation in the top brood box. Later I had some second thoughts at that, as I wanted to give the queen someplace to lay without having to have her workers draw out all of the comb. So today I put some fully drawn comb in between the frames of just foundation (like this: FFCFCFCFCF where F is a foundation frame, and C is a comb [drawn out] frame). That way she can have immediate places to lay eggs.

You can see how populous the bottom brood chamber is (as viewed from above):

I also checked the honey super. They had started drawing out some of the foundation, so I am still hopeful this year. I would say this hive is doing just fine!


I took a quick peek into each of the nucs. They are also doing fine as far as I can tell. The bees in both nucs are eating the pollen patties I put in there. I also checked to make sure the queen cells had hatched - they had. Here's a picture of the brown nuc's queen cell - sorry it is out of focus, the camera wouldn't focus on the cell. But you can see the opening where the queen hatched:

The gray nuc also had a hatched queen cell. So according to bee math, the mated queen should start laying in a little over 2 weeks. I'll leave them alone until June 12th (3 weeks) and then re-check. They will appreciate not being messed with...

Brown Hive

Ah, the brown hive... This weekend was make-or-break for the (as yet non-existent) queen. There was plenty of time to see eggs, based on the appearance of the queen cell a while ago. I didn't have a lot of faith in seeing any, as 1) this hive has not done well making a queen in the past, and 2) the queen cell looked small. Here's the amount of bees in the bottom brood box (compare with the picture from the green hive above):

After a frame-by-frame inspection, I have concluded that definitely there is no queen there. The hive itself also told me this, as the overall "buzz" of the beehive is different (sounding a little more annoyed) which is characteristic of a queenless hive.

So I called up a fellow beekeeper from the Bee Club who raises queens. He lives 1 1/2 hours away, and had a new queen available for me. So after a half a tank of gas and $25 later, I have a new queen (a very expensive bug, no?). I could have ordered one mail-order, but 1) it would cost more than $25 (with shipping), and 2) this queen is a northern bred queen, not one from Georgia, and 3) I would have to wait more time. Here she is in her queen cage (you can see the blue dot on her back in this shot):

It was still early evening so I installed her in the hive directly, by attaching a piece of cardboard with a thumbtack and thumbtacking it to an adjacent frame:

The queen cage is a little slanted because of the fact that the walls of the cage are thin, and I couldn't push a thumbtack through the walls into the chamber - I had to do it toward the end. The bees don't mind the tilted cage. Also, I left out a frame to leave room for the bees to feed the queen.

I'll check back in a few days to make sure they have released her.

So the brown hive now has a queen (oh, by the way, the title of this post is a reference to a song by Queen - get it?)


  1. Perhaps it should "Beehemian" Rhapsody. Har har.. Sorry to hear about the brown hive's lack of queen rearing. Good luck with the purchased queen!

  2. Lets hope that it is not "Another one bites the dust".

  3. Where did you get your queen? I have one hive that is just recently queenless?


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