This is the present configuration of OH, Girls — 2 deep brood boxes, queen excluder, 3 medium supers for honey, inner cover, quilt box, and outer cover.
It takes a long time to check a hive with this many boxes.
Correction: It takes us a long time to check a hive with this many boxes.
Again we hoped to find capped honey frames ready for extraction. There was one, which we pulled and replaced with an empty. But most looked like this, beautiful, but only partially capped.
In the first deep, there was lots of drone brood on the frames, and I was starting to develop a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Was our new queen laying only drones? Did we somehow have laying workers? Again?
Also, there were queen cups with larvae inside. Had they killed the queen?
But then, we saw this, which proves we don’t have a laying worker, but a large hive with enough bees and food to support drones.
And finally, I spotted our beautiful queen (Me! The one who never spots the queen, especially an unmarked one!).
Sorry for the blurry pictures, but she was running around laying eggs as fast as she could.
So BIG! And surprisingly golden, which you may have noticed in my earlier post. Saskatraz bees are generally darker, as you can see from my photos, so to end up with a gold queen from a Sasky mother is kind of interesting.
Although we didn’t see any eggs, there was plenty of larvae, and the hive remains crowded. The bees evidently think so too since they are again raising queens.
Next plans for OH, Girls: Make another split this weekend, and cross fingers we’ll have enough frames to extract honey over 4th of July weekend.
Next door in the Kremlin, Empress Olga’s laying pattern is starting to improve.
At first glance, her capped brood still looks spotty, and in some cases, it is. However, there were also frames with larvae and eggs interspersed between capped brood cells. And she’s laying eggs more toward the center of the cells.
Plan for the Kremlin: Regular hive check in seven to ten days (probably over the 4th of July).
Finally, we turned to the OH, Girls split.
We haven’t done a true hive check on this hive since we saw the queen was injured on 26 May. When we’re hoping a hive will make a new queen, I just think it’s best to leave them alone to get on with it.
However, during our last hive checks, I asked The Engineer to tilt back the top box so I could check for queen cells. I saw one that was either opened or not yet capped, so we decided it was time to have a look.
When we opened the hive, we discovered the bees had completely propolized the top of the Beetle Jail, which drastically lowers the chances of any beetles actually being caught in the trap, although there was one.
Saskatraz bees also seem to propolize. A lot.
There was larvae of all sizes.
There were also eggs, which you might be able to see if you look very carefully at the above picture. So, although we didn’t spot our new queen, we know she’s there.
Here’s her old cell (along with some of her brood).
And a closer look at that cell.
Plans for this hive: Continue to monitor, adding boxes if needed.
Other plans for all three hives: Start to replace old frames, discard old foundation, pressure wash the wood, and put in fresh foundation.
In summary, OH, Girls has truly been the hive that keeps on giving! We got honey from it last summer, they survived the winter, and bees from that hive have raised two new queens, with hope for another.
In other bee news, we attended the meeting of our local beekeeping group last night, the first one held in person for over a year. The topic was safety in the bee yard, presented by a nurse anesthesiologist.
Well! Her presentation was certainly enlightening, full of information about the types of toxins in bee venom, how to recognize if a reaction is mild, moderate, or severe, whether it’s localized or general, and what to do when a bee stings you.
She also had diagrams including one of a stinger. The picture I’ve linked to isn’t the one she shared, but it’s similar enough to show what I’m talking about when I say my idea of a “barbed stinger” was nothing like the actuality of one.
I pictured more of a hook, not something that looks like a twin-bladed saw! No wonder it hurts!
If you want to know more, you can go here. Again, not the exact information she shared, but it’s close enough.
Must close now. There’s mead that needs bottling, and we need to eat dinner before doing it because I know there will be tasting involved.