Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hmmm

It was 70ish today so I came home early to see what the bees were doing. I began by taking off the two top supers. First concern, neither of the boxes had any activity, no comb being built here. When I got down to the brood box it looked OK from the top, bees roaming over the top of the frames. The first frame I took out was an end frame, there was some comb drawn on it but not much else, some pollen on the inner side.

The second frame, however, was a big surprise - it was loaded with queen cells! They were bright yellow, sticking perpendicular to the frames, probably half a dozen on both sides of the frame.

As I went through the frames there were several others with queen cells scattered about - and one of them open! I also saw a queen on one of the frames, she seemed to be wandering around, without any attendants watching after her - this seemed strange. She also seemed skinny, not that I have seen a lot of queens before. There were also a bunch of drones bees in the hive.

There were also a bunch of cells that were only half filled with something. It was off white and looked pasty. I talked to another beekeeper and he suggested that perhaps it was pollen. All of the pollen I have seen up to this point has been yellow or even orange. ?

I also did not see eggs or larva or much stores! This could be my inexperience at spotting them.

So, I am guessing that the first queen left, or gave up, or was killed in the transport, or the bees started building queen cells when the queen was trapped for the split. I am guessing the queen I saw was a new one (is there any way to tell?) perhaps a virgin queen?

So, because there were little stores, I went ahead and took off the two supers, put the inner cover right down on the brood box and put on two feeder jars. I know I have a chance of crowding the bees with the one box which could cause them to think swarm, but I have to worry about them living through the next couple of weeks. Hopefully one of the new queens will mate and get to work laying eggs!

I'd love to get some feedback!! (sorry for no pictures, my helper was at baseball:)

1 comment:

Bil said...

Just after reading this, I stumbled across a discussion of the word bumblebee: http://tinyurl.com/3dp7vw