The weather out here reminds me of how I feel about naturally curly hair: of course everyone wants it, but making a big deal of it is terribly boastful. Just appreciate it and deal with any inner-smug yourself. It's just beautiful -- sunny and not too warm, but nothing like Chicago's -21! It feels like spring. Spring means bees. So finally, I made time to get into the beehive today! No smoke, since it was a quick "Hi, howareya?" visit. For my own happiness, the first hive was my boomer.02 hive, or the one which has a queen who's the daughter of my best queen ever. They're such nice, mellow bees I figured they'd be a nice start to the year's beekeeping. They're still in some shade, but were foraging as though their lives depended on it. At first, all I saw was capped honey -- not too much, but enough so that I'm confident that they made it through the winter just fine.
After I lifted a few frames, I saw brood. A good sign, that, because without a queen you don't get babies. "It would be funny," I thought, "if I saw the queen." I neither had my marking pen nor my camera, so I figured it would be par for the course.
There she is, bold as brass. I kept this frame out for a long time because I ended up yelling for Ellie to find my pen and the camera. Pen was nowhere to be seen, alas (this will teach me the perils of disorganization -- or not) but the kids brought the camera out. My nephew even got a look at her majesty.
That wasn't the only wonder of the day, though. As I kept watching her walking around, seemingly unconcerned, she was the total opposite of what's called a "running queen." She just kept going about her business. Here she is sticking her head in a cell:
And then, if I'm not mistaken, laying an egg!
I could hardly believe my luck! I never thought I'd see that. Whoopie! In celebration, I dusted the hive with powdered sugar to help them fight any Varroa destructor mites just like Kristin does. I didn't see any mites, but then, I didn't do a count either. I know there were ants bothering the second hive, so I was being preventative.
Then, on to the next bunch. Here's a side by side comparison. There are definite differences between the two. Both are feral stock, but the left hand one (the first hive) has to have a queen with primarily Italian strains. They're golden, mellow, and make a lot of babies and a lot of honey. The right hand ones are probably primarily Russian or German. More black than the Italians, they're supposed to be cold hardy and mite-resistant. Since I'm not worried about cold, and I'm not thrilled with their slight grumpiness and low numbers, my plan is to eventually find and depose that queen and replace her with a new one from the first hive. I may just have to raise up new queens from that first hive in general. I'd like three hives again this summer, and I do like that first queen.
This hive had fewer bees on top, also. The population just isn't as robust, even though they have the sunnier spot. They're also more bothered with ants. Just a weaker hive overall.
They do have a functioning queen, though, so that's good.
Not that I saw her (that would be quite a day) but the evidence is clear, with those lovely brood floating in jelly. They got a sugar dusting too, plus ant-stopping sticky stuff on the stand. I'll just end up splitting that hive and importing new eggs and larvae from the good hive to raise up queens. Maybe next month!
Harvest Monday - April 24, 2107
1 hour ago