June 20, 2014

So I guess I'm a beekeeper: And I'm pretty bad at it

I took the day off work today and went north. I ordered a new queen, assuming Amelia was gone. When I arrived, right behind the UPS truck (Good timing on my part!), I opened the hive and realized I was totally right. So I installed Amelia II.

I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Or if I am, which is what makes this so maddening.

I've now had to re-queen both hives. And Beatrix II is laying like a champ, but her hive isn't drawing out any comb, which means she has no more place to lay new eggs. After a lot of thought, I made the executive decision to take frame 8 from Amelia and give it to Beatrix. There are no eggs in the frame, since they hatched while they were queenless, and weren't replaced (I actually did see 2 new baby bees hatch out today, which was amazing). So I figured they could use a few extra bees in the hive, but more importantly, the full frame of drawn comb.

It's been cool and rainy, which makes me think the bees haven't been foraging and therefore not making wax. But seriously, what the heck? I've got full gallons of sugar syrup on the top feeders for them, and they aren't really eating much of that either.

So now Amelia II is in place with 5 frames of drawn comb and lots of bees, since those 5 frames have mostly hatched out. (And the hive got super gentle when I put her queen cage in the hive) Beatrix II is laying, but has no good place to lay them. Although now she has at least one more new frame in which to lay her eggs. I'm really hoping I didn't just weaken Amelia's hive too much with that one frame.

Here's hoping that these hives get on the ball and start drawing comb and making this a good hive, or they won't make the winter. Because seriously, I can't re-queen every stinking month! Sigh. What am I doing wrong?

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