Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Bee unsure

today was our first inspection of Hive 2.  We created Hive 2 on 12 June, and it had an uncapped Queen Cell in.    More bees than we have observed before.  Extracted frame, in the eke, was being cleaned still so we left it there.   We pulled out a couple o fthe cerntral Supers, and saw that they have been drawn out.  

In the brood box, we saw stores, lots of stores,  and pollen. No eggs, no brood.  Bees were reasonably tolerant. The half frame now has cells underneath it.  We knew it was very early to see eggs,  so we did not inspect each frame nor search for the Queen.  What we should have done (and did not) is take a look at the Queen Cell and see what had happened to it.  I've made a note in my hive record to do this next time.

Calculations (when I got home) are as follows:
Divided Hive on 12th June, and at that point the cell was uncapped.  Let's assume that the bees capped it on the 13th.   The new Queen would emerge +8 days on 21 June.  Her earliest mating would be Emerge+11days, which is 2nd July.   Let's assume she lays on the same day (to give us earliest possible dates), the larvae would hatch 3 days later on 5 July.     So, today was a bit too early to see anything anyway.

As we didn't do much of an inspection on Hive 2, and we're expecting rain in the next few days, we decided to take  a look inside HIve 1.

Far fewer bees than last time.  This could be because we've had another swarm, or it could be that the hive is Queenless and dying.  The bees were not happy, so we're leaning towards the latter.  Supers were not drawn out at all.  Stores.   Unhappy bees, so we decided to put the hive back together and review actions at home.

We believe there was an attempted swarm on 7 June, which means the sealed Queen Cell which we left in the hive when we divided it on 12th June, would have been sealed that day.    If so, she would have emerged on 15th June,  and the earliest she would have mated is 26th June.  She would be too old for mating 10th July.    

We will need to do a frame by frame inspection, looking for the Queen or evidence of the Queen next time.

If we have a Queen in only one of the hives, we will need to re-unite them. If we have no Queen in either hive,  we will need to look at requeening.  Hopefully we won't have to do that, but we'll need to prepare for this possibility.     Time to read up on sourcing and introducing a queen, either a live queen or a queen cell. Just in case.


  1. You're much braver than me Hazel - I am fascinated by bees, but cautious about being stung.

  2. Only brave when I'm wearing my bee suit, Clare!

  3. Only brave when I'm wearing my bee suit, Clare!

  4. I'm finding your posts about your bees absolutely fascinating, I have a very small garden but it is well stocked with bee friendly flower.