May 31, 2014

So I guess I'm a beekeeper: A reminder that not all goes according to plan

We headed north today to check on my hives. Amelia's hive is amazing. She is laying loads of little bees, and frames 4 - 5 are filled with larvae in a perfect pattern. She barely misses a spot to lay.

On frames 6 - 8, there is capped brood throughout, with some capped nectar (the whiter portions) toward the top. This means baby bees will be emerging shortly . Very little are drone brood (you can tell by the larger bumps toward the bottom very occasionally. The bumps are to account for the extra space needed for their eyes.)

It was even cool to watch some of the bees making wax. You can see it extruding from this bee's abdomen here.

The disheartening part of my day was Beatrix's hive. There are no eggs, no larvae, and was no queen. This was confirmed by the supersedure cells the workers are creating all over frame 5 to have the existing weak queen lay a new queen. (The peanut-like cells are to fit a larger bodied queen) The problem is I don't think she's there at all. The queen cells and other cells are filled with nectar. It's all a bad sign. I don't know what went wrong with this hive, but it makes me so sad.

So now, I'm in a race against time. I will need to order a new queen, get her shipped, installed, and hope that the existing bees are around long enough to help her build the brood back up.

I knew the chances of this venture going perfectly were small, but it's really disheartening that it happened so quickly. I guess there's no time like the present to start learning the hard stuff!

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