The Engineer and I have been quite busy all summer. Between beekeeping, getting the plane annual done, prepping for my sister-in-law’s visit and Oshkosh, every day has felt like a marathon right until we collapse on the couch to watch David Tennant’s “Around the World in 80 Days.”
However, well over a month ago, a friend invited me up to her lakeside condo for a day out, and the only day we could find that would work for both of us was Thursday. Thus, two days ago, she picked me up for a day of wandering around Vermilion, Ohio and lunch at her place.
It was lovely. There’s just something about being around water that stills the soul.
Vermilion is — and I hesitate to use the word, but it fits — quaint with beautiful planters downtown and the biggest Black-eyed Susan blossoms I’ve ever seen.
Then, yesterday, The Engineer and I took a day off together. We kayaked six miles on the Tuscarawas River, then cycled eight on the Towpath.
It was just what we needed, and though I was Very Tired last night, we are now ready to face the final lap in our race to get everything done!
Well, I’m not going to bore you with the details, but when we inspected Hive 2A (the split from #2), we discovered it had the original queen. This was the hive where we ended up doing a “walkaway split” by putting frames with eggs in both the original box and the split and leaving them to it. We did this because when we went through the original box, we didn’t see the queen.
Having found the original queen, we took the hive down to one box and called our friend MJ to take it for the nuc we promised her.
We also have another friend coming on Sunday for a nuc, which would take us down to five hives, but after MJ took hers, we were temporarily at six.
Today, we inspected the hives with new queens to see if there were eggs. When we finished, our apiary looked like this.
Yes, we have seven hives. Again.
You see, we looked inside Hive #1 (second from the left), which we last left nine days ago with a new queen. Today, we found no queen, no eggs, and no larvae. Either she didn’t mate successfully, the bees didn’t like her and killed her, or she just hasn’t started laying and we missed her.
Any of these possibilities is as likely as the rest.
We stole a frame with eggs from 1A to put in. If they are queenless, they can make a new queen. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Having a break in eggs hatching might be a good thing for that hive anyway. They are still very full.
Then we looked in Hive #2 — the hive where we watched a queen emerge. We didn’t see any eggs there either, but we did see the queen. She is gorgeously big, which should signify she’s mated successfully and just hasn’t started laying. So fingers crossed for that one too.
Last, we opened Hive #3. It was full of brood and bees, likely from the eggs and larvae that were in it when we last checked. But we didn’t see a queen or eggs, and it was full(!) of queen cells. Like, maybe 25 of them?
So, clearly if they have a queen, they’re not happy with her. And why would they be if she’s not laying?
The question was what should we do with all those bees, brood and queen cells? If we did nothing, we would almost certainly end up with another swarm on our hands.
The logical solution was to split the hive (again), putting brood and queen cells in both, along with honey, pollen, and nectar for food.
The only problem is, we’re now back up to seven hives, and will only go down to six instead of five when we give away the split.
In the end, I expect this situation will resolve itself because I find it hard to imagine we’ll have six hives going into winter.
The problem is we’ve been waiting to treat the hives because I’ve heard it’s pointless to treat only part of an apiary because bees do sometimes “drift” into neighboring hives and can take those nasty Varroa Mites with them. I’ve also heard it’s not good to treat when they are in the delicate process of making and/or accepting new queens because the smell of the Oxalic or Formic Acid can mask the queen’s pheromones.
Unfortunately, we are stuck playing the waiting game. In a week or ten days, we will check the hives again, but I’ve given up trying to predict what we’ll find. We may have to just treat them no matter what state they’re in. This is the time of year when Varroa can really take off, but you sometimes don’t see the problem until August when it’s too late to do anything about it.
In other news, we went to Michigan for a concert and came home with a tandem kayak.
This is not quite as impetuous as it sounds. Because we enjoy canoeing and kayaking, we’ve been considering making such a purchase for several years. We just didn’t plan on acting on the idea this week!
However, we were cycling on a riverside path in Ann Arbor, and the people in the water looked like they were having so much fun! We discussed the idea again, and when we got back to our motel room, I looked at the REI website because I have a 20% off coupon for their yearly anniversary sale.
The ones we liked were a little more than we wanted to spend, so I looked on Craigslist. Lo and behold, twenty minutes away there was this beauty being offered complete with life jackets, paddles, and scupper plugs for what seemed quite a reasonable price.
We made an appointment to see it, found there was an REI store within two miles of our hotel, and bought what we needed to strap it to our luggage rack.
It was as good as it looked online, and the deal was struck.
Yesterday, we drove to the Watercraft Agent and registered it.