Saturday, March 22, 2008

Update - A Discovery!

Well, let me first admit that I am obviously still learning!

After putting up the previous post, I described the situation to my mentor. He asked in the nicest way possible - do you really know what a queen cell looks like? Well, I don't. The cells I was seeing were actually drone cells!

Anyway, I went back in the hive today to take a second look, and I am feeling a lot better! The frames were covered with bees, many more than I saw a few days ago. We took some pictures - and have some new questions:

First, I had a new helper, he was deathly afraid of bees, but once he donned the superman suit and took hold of the camera, he was invincible.

As I said, when I started pulling the frames they were loaded with bees, here is an example.
Here is that frame, notice the yellow bulbous cells - those are drone cells, yeah, I know, it is obvious now.

Here is another one - we'll come back to this one in a minute :)

So, as I was going through the frame - I saw the queen again, this time on a frame full of bees, looking plumper and busy! Here is the frame picture, see if you can spot her!

Well, she was camera shy and ducked under some workers when we went to take the pictures - so I have blown up that section in the picture below. If you see the bee with the pollen on her legs, the queen is to her right somewhat covered by other workers. She is much longer than the others, has a more pronounced larynx and shorter wings. I have been surprised how much different she looks from the other bees, easier to spot than I anticipated.

So, all in all a good visit. When I got done I went ahead and put a medium super back on top since they were obviously doing well.

After closing everything back up and coming inside to take a look at the pictures I found something very interesting. If you look real close to the second frame I have displayed above, you will see what looks to me like another queen! Since I made such a blunder last time, I have blown up the area and I ask for your expert eyes to take a look. It was certainly not the same queen, as it was two frames away from were I saw the other queen.

So, if this is another queen - now what? Is it OK to have two in there? Will it encourage swarming? Will they fight? Or will they produce twice as many brood?

More questions . . .

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