But first, the bad news. On Sunday, The Engineer had to put a screen over the entrance of the Kremlin because it was being attacked by robber bees. Today, when we checked the hive, we discovered the assault must have begun while we were gone. It was devastated, with few bees remaining — certainly not enough to grow into a viable hive in time for winter.
So, we are down to three hives, all of them originating from last spring’s Saskatraz package.
The good news is all of them are queen right.
Eager for a lift of spirits after the disheartening discovery in the Kremlin, we turned to OH Girls Split #1.
This is the hive that had two queens when last we looked.
Today, we — and by “we,” I mean The Engineer — spotted only one. I suspect the original dented one who began this dynasty is probably dead.
Thankfully, her good genes continue their reign in each of our three hives because each is queened by one of her daughters.
Here’s one of her beautiful offspring in OH Girls Split #1.
The residents of this hive have been toiling hard while we were gone, building comb on the new frames we gave them before we left. There was even capped brood on one of them already!
I love the way new comb looks — so fresh and perfect.
Below, you can see one of the hive’s many frames of capped brood.
Next, we turned to OH Girls and OH Girls Split #2. The split was made at the end of June, and we weren’t sure which hive ended up with the queen. We checked the original OH Girls first.
It’s big, two deep brood boxes and three honey supers. There were a lot(!) of bees. With a hive this size and well-populated, it almost seems like they are just boiling up out of the hive.
It was also filled with many frames of capped brood, which means it is queen right. Yay!
I admit I’m pathetic when it comes to spotting queens, but I don’t know how anyone can find them in a hive this full.
But Engineer found this one too. She’s golden, so might be the queen from OH Girls. Or, maybe she’s just another golden queen.
Here’s three photos of her. Can you find her in all of them? (And don’t go all smug on me if you do. It’s easy when you’re only inches away and it’s a still photo.)
So … did we also find a queen behind door (hive) number three?
No, we did not. However, we found something almost as good. Capped brood, and lots of it!
This is what I mean by bees just kind of boiling up. It’s like they coagulate or something!
In other good news, all three hives have begun storing honey in the corners of some of their brood box frames.
We hope to see more of this as they prepare for winter, even if it means they pay less attention to the honey in their honey supers.
OH Girls still has three of these smaller boxes, and many of the frames are nearly fully capped. We didn’t pull any of them today, opting instead to wait and see how it goes.
Now that we have three queen right hives, I’m sure something else will pop up to torment us.
Oh. Yeah. Winter is coming. Guess it’s time to start worrying about that.
I’ll leave you with this photo of OH Girls Split #1 after we checked it. I’m not sure why they all decided to cluster around their two bottom entrances, but I’m sure they have a reason.