Friday, May 30, 2014

First Bee Check of the Year

Well, I did it - I decided to give beekeeping another shot, and so I bought two more packages of bees on May 10th and brought them home. I fed them honey water in jar feeders (which I later learned might not have been the best idea) and pollen patties, and they seemed to be off to a good start. I've been meaning to get back and check on them, but with the crazy busy-ness of spring, I haven't been able to get out there.

I finally had a chance to check on the bees this morning. I have to admit, I'm very confused. The Warre hive had only 3 frames of drawn comb, and on two of them I found queen cells! Obviously, the bees aren't overcrowded, since they haven't even started on the 5 empty frames, but just in case I added the extra box of frames I'd been planning to add anyway. I'm thinking it might be wise to set up a bait box/swarm trap somewhere in the yard, too, just to hedge my bets. My best guess is that the queen was weak or even died, and so they're raising a new one to replace her - which would mean no swarm, and hopefully at least a small crop of honey once they get settled down again with a new queen.

In the top-bar Kenyan-style hive, they had 7 frames drawn out, with plenty of room to expand in the box. There were a lot of brood cells, and plenty of pollen and uncapped honey (and even some capped honey already!) There were, however, quite a few bulgy brood cells, which I'm hoping are just drones and not just oddly formed queen cells (the strange goings-on in the Warre hive got me nervous!)

Even more nerve-wracking is that we'll be out of town for the weekend for my cousin's wedding - so I'll be wondering all weekend if my $100 investment in that package of bees is going to fly away and leave me honey-less! I never thought I'd be such a nervous mother over a hive of bees!