Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First inspection, and a surprise!

Yesterday I went out to do my first full inspection of the new hives. I took the video camera with me, and as soon as I can get the disc finished, I’ll post my first video here.

In the first hive (I call it Jabez, due to the number of stings I got when I first received this hive…) all seemed to be going well. Bees were busily working, the queen looked fat and happy, and there were many brood and eggs. I also saw quite a bit of honey being stored. I believe they are going after the tulip poplar right now, because we are in a good flow right now. None of my hives have touched any of the syrup I’ve made available!

I also noticed in this hive that there was very little pollen being stored. I know that this is being fixed now, as I have seen many bees coming in with large baskets full of the yellow stuff.

In the second hive (Russians. No name yet.), I found the activity to be going quite well. The queen was busily going about her duties, and there was repair work going on the older comb in the hive.

The third hive surprised me. I’ve noticed little activity out front, and when I opened it, I found the bees working quite diligently and ignoring me altogether. When I removed one of the frames, I found a very advanced queen cell in the middle of the frame, covered with bees. There were also eggs on this frame. On the next frame I found the queen, and more eggs and a bunch of capped brood. There was also a small early-stage queen cell.

So I emailed my supplier with my thoughts on this observation. The hive is nowhere near full, as it was a 3-frame nuc installed last week, so I didn’t think swarming was on their mind. It could be that the queen, having been introduced two weeks ago, had not started laying soon enough for the workers so they began some queen cells. My supplier agreed with me on this and said I should remove the queen cells and keep a close eye on this colony for awhile. Hopefully I can get some good pictures of this cell in the next week or so. I haven’t decided if I should remove it, for if this current queen is weak for some reason, the bees would know better than I. What do you, my knowledgeable readers think? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts! Today, there is much activity in front of all three hives, as it is currently 73F and sunny.

One final observation: All 3 of my AJs BeetleEaters were empty of SHB, and I saw none in the hives. So far so good!!


Michelle said...

Those pesky little beetles better stay far away! I can't offer any bee advice as to what you should do! One question-- Why no French bees?

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!