Saturday, July 17, 2010

A New Queen?!?

After the bee picnic I suited up and went out to inspect my hive. The sun had gone past the trees so at least I was a little shaded, although I still sweated a bunch. I especially wanted to check out the green hive and see what the deal was.

Green Hive

First off the top is the honey super. Here's a picture of the single frame which contains any appreciable honey:

You can see that it's only about 20% capped. The frustrating thing is that it's been like this for literally a month or more. The frame next to this has a little bit of nectar in it, but it is light. The good news is that when I lifted off the upper brood chamber, it was very heavy. They are putting up some honey in that chamber, but it doesn't help my extracting desires.

Here's an interesting shot of a lot of propolis. The bees use this stick stuff to, well, stick things together. The propolis is the stretched brown goop along the edge:

They also put this along the edge of each frame, which causes the frames to stick to each other. Today while I was inspecting I made it a point to scrape off as much as I could to make future inspections easier. Excessive propolis use is a characteristic of Italian honeybees.

You'll recall that this hive created a lot of swarm cells in the past couple of weeks. I first tipped up the top brood chamber to look along the bottoms of the frames, and this is what I found:

Mostly you see queen cups (the round ones with the large holes in the bottom), but there are a couple of queen cells.

There are lots of bees in this hive, and lots of honey in the frames, so I don't think it swarmed:

I saw really good brood patterns in this hive, and I wanted to find the green marked queen.

Then I noticed something on the frame in the picture above - click on it and zoom in and see if you see it, right in the middle. It's a supercedure queen cell which has been chewed open on the side. This is symptomatic of a new queen going through and destroying her competition.

As I was looking at another frame something else caught my eye - I saw a big plump non-marked queen scampering across the frame! Apparently one of the many queen cells this hive created managed to hatch and she mated and is laying (I saw very young larvae). She must have "taken care of" the older green marked queen.

So I quickly grabbed her and put her in my queen marking tube and gave her a nice blue dot on her back:

I'm getting pretty good at marking queens!

So this hive now has a brand new 2010 model queen. I took out the other queen cells I found and I hope this hive settles down.

Brown Hive

The honey super of the Brown Hive looks worse than that of the green hive. There was only one frame and it was only half filled with nectar, very light:

The queen was spotted (look in the lower right edge of the frame, in the little depression):

And she was laying some really good brood patterns:

So I moved on to the nucs.

White Nuc

I hadn't looked into this nuc at the last inspection. Here's what I saw when I opened the nuc - lots of bees!

I had a new wired wax foundation frame in this nuc, and was pleased to see the bees drawing it out and the queen laying lots in it! If you look closely you can see lots of larvae (not as easy to see as it is on a black foundation):

Pretty much after every inspection the bees are very discombobulated and chaotic - you can see lots of them on the side of the nuc in the next picture. It takes a few minutes after everything is put together for things to start to return to normal, and even then the bees schedule is interrupted. That's why it isn't good to do inspections too often.

Brown Nuc

This is the double-decker nuc. Looks like the queen is taking full advantage of the upper story (sorry for the out of focus picture). You can see a pretty complete coverage brood pattern:

This nuc has lots of bees. I got a kick out of seeing a line-up of bees along the upper edge of the nuc in the next picture:

Once I get some of the woodenware assembled and painted (that I bought from Brushy Mountain last month), this nuc will be moved into a full-size hive.

Finally, here are a couple of videos. First, a video of a drone bee being born (chewing his way out of a cell). I didn't capture the complete work, just a few seconds. See if you can find him:

Second, here's a video of the front porch of the white nuc showing classic "washboarding" where the bees move back and forth, as if they were washing clothes on a washboard:

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy reading your blog, keep it up!

    Green hive could have 2 queens in it. There are cases of 2 queen hives. That could explain why it is bursting at the seams with bees....They might also not be pure italians, they could have some russian or carni in them. I have one hive that is an italian/russian/carni and it has had the largest number of bees, the most propolis, the best honey haul and the most queen cups out of all of my hives.


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