Friday, July 1, 2011

Hive Check: Week 5

A short update as I get the blog caught up to the present day.

Opening up Hive #1, I kept my fingers crossed. As I shared in my week 4 inspection, the bees had decided to supersede their perfectly good package queen. I had found a number of fully capped queen cells, so knowing that queens spend approximately 7 and a half to 9 days developing as pupae in capped cells, I figured that the virgin queens would likely emerge in less than a week:
Metamorphosis of the Queen Bee
Egg: hatches on Day 3
Larva (several moltings): Day 3 to Day 8½
Queen cell capped: ~Day 7½
Pupa: ~Day 8 until emergence
Emergence: ~Day 15½ - Day 17
Nuptial Flight(s): ~Day 20 - 24
Egg Laying: ~Day 23 and up
As it turns out, I was right. All of the queen cells I found during my last inspection were both hatched and in the process of being torn down. It's remarkable how quickly the bees eliminated them considering the queens must have only hatched a day or two ( at most) prior to my inspection. I didn't see the virgin queen(s), but to be fair I wasn't looking too hard. Knowing that the hive was in the middle of a transition, I kept my inspection quick to minimize any disruption.

René Magritte was famously inspired by a beekeeper.

The remains of three queen cells.  I wonder which of these queens survived to mate.

Hive #2 was still plugging along; they're not great, just average. They've started drawing comb again (slowly), now that they have had time to hatch some new bees, so hopefully things will pick up soon. Their population isn't huge; only covering 5 or so frames, so they don't need a new hive body to expand in to yet.
The hive top feeders we have are flawed in that they have a large amount of space underneath them.  The bees have been taking advantage of this by building comb in the feeder instead of using the frames.


Emily inspecting a newly drawn frame.

One of the center frames.

Cleaning up after I removed the spur of comb extending into the feeder.

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