Sunday, May 13, 2012

60,000 Mother Day Kisses

Well it's that time of year again and we can't forget to appreciate how hard the mothers of the hives work, laying somewhere around a million eggs in their lifetime!  She may get to rest for 15 minutes here and there but otherwise doesn't sleep and scours the hive day and night looking for places to lay eggs.  Followed by nurse bees attending to whatever need she may have, there is never a moment alone until the day when some younger version makes an appearance and kills her...  oh the cruelty of mother nature.  Happy queen bee day from your thousands of children!

Geek Queen

We are getting a wave of sunshine at the moment that is very un-Seattle-like, but very bee-friendly!  The hives are getting really packed with bees and the hive entrances are a constant traffic jam of activity.  The drones are flying as well looking for virgin queens, and only the unsuccessful ones return home (or to some random hive since any strong hive will welcome them).  The air has that sweet bee smell that results from all the activity.  They create this amazing sweet flowery scent that is made up of an unknown number of different flowers blended together.

Coral Bells

Lilac Blooms

Hive checks (5/12/2012)

Librarians - Not much drone or worker brood overall for a full hive of bees for the second week in a row and the Geeks have surpassed them in numbers now.  Signs of varroa and DWV have cleared up for the most part.  Saw a handful of drones with DWV, but otherwise they were in good shape and have the issue under control.  The queen is laying eggs/brood in small patches but very spread out over the frames.  I'm surprised there haven't been any attempts to supersede her yet.  They aren't building much comb but are taking syrup now which may be due to the lack of new worker bees and increased drones.  

Engineers - This hive is building up nicely and they have a surplus of stores saved.  They have taken a little syrup but for the most part are opting for natural sources.  They are building combs quickly.  Took two frames of brood for Nuc 2.

Geeks - This hive is boiling over and saw something I've never noticed before.  There was a small cluster of several hundred bees in the back of the hive behind the follower board.   I'm wondering if they are practicing for swarming or if they just want more room to build comb, however they were not building comb there.  The queen wasn't in the cluster and it was just bees.  It seems that they want to build 60% f a new comb and then start a new one rather than finish out the combs completely, so I gave them several empty bars before the follower board.  There are a lot of practice queen cups, but all are still empty.  I debated moving the queen to Nuc 2, but opted to keep her and move more frames. I would like her to keep laying and building up this hive for the blackberry flow.  If she starts laying in swarm cells I will have to move her to a nuc.  Took 4 frames of brood for Nuc 2. 

Nuc C - Skipped.  They have been taking a little syrup.  The new queen should be emerged by now and going on mating flights in the next few days.

Nuc 1 - The queen from Nuc C has been reorganizing this hive and is filling the frames up with eggs.  It's off to a good start.  They also have a good amount of pollen and nectar stored.

Nuc 2 - This is a temp nuc with frames form the Engineers and Geeks.  Will break up next week into smaller nucs with the queen cells that are formed.

- Jeff

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