Here’s a quick two-clip video that shows some of what we had to deal with today.
The first brief clip shows a monster hive after we did a full inspection of it and thoroughly riled up the bees. It’s a swarmed hive with a newly mated queen (which we spotted). It’s full of uncapped honey and very little brood. We pulled some honey frames to give the queen more room to lay, but I’m not sure what we’re going to do next. We found swarm cells in two other hives. The second clip shows one of the swarm cells. The other hive with swarm cells had about half a dozen capped cells. Lovely. We have a swarm trap out and we took other swarm prevention measures. But we’ll see how it goes next week. We have three mated queens coming in. I hope requeening calms the bees down. The past 40 days have been exhausting. We’ve done everything we can to keep the bees in check, but they’re on fire.
One of my honey bee colonies swarmed into a tree last week. I caught it and put it in a new hive with a small frame feeder and three frames of empty drawn comb so the queen could start laying right away. I checked on it yesterday and here’s a video that shows what I found (it’s doing well):
It’s not the greatest video, but it shows how things are working out for me since I moved the hives from my backyard to a place in the country. I won’t say exactly where I moved the hives, but anyone familiar with farms around St. John’s probably won’t have a hard time guessing correctly.
A couple notes about the video: 1) I got lazy with making my improvised ventilated inner covers. I came up with an equally effective but much easier to make version of the same thing at the 3:19 mark in the video. I haven’t tested it much yet, but I’ll write up a more detailed post for it later if it works. 2) The hived swarm probably doesn’t need two deeps just yet (and probably doesn’t need the extra ventilation), but swarms are known for building up fast. I gave them the extra hive box in case I can’t make it out next week. I’ll keep feeding the hive now just like I would with a nuc.
A swarm cell destroyed by virgin queen. (June 25, 2012.)
I added a frame of brood with a swarm cell on it to a split hive last week that I thought was queenless. Turns out it wasn’t queenless, because by the looks of it, the queen inside the swarm cell was destroyed — stung to death by a queen that was already in the hive, then pulled dead from the swarm cell by worker bees. If a queen had emerged from the swarm cell, the cell would be open on the bottom, not the side (or so I’ve been told). The hive had several frames of freshly capped brood when I checked it yesterday. I don’t think a week old queen could mate and begin laying that fast. Thus ends my interpretation of the above photo. I could be wrong.
I inadvertently took a half decent photo of royal jelly during my hive inspections yesterday. Click the photo for a close up view that shows the larvae floating in the royal jelly.
Gooey whilte larvae (June 25, 2012.)
Royal jelly is a white, gooey secretion that’s fed to all honey bee larvae for their first three days. Larvae intended to become queens are given a gigantic dose of royal jelly that more or less keeps them going for the duration of their development. Continue reading →
April 2019 Introduction: There’s more than a 2-week gap between this post and the last post because I was busy from being forced to move my bees out of my backyard in the city. The colony in one of my hives swarmed because, like all of my colonies, I overfed it. This is what an overfed honey bee colony on the verge of swarming looks like: