Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Inspection 4/28/10

New Hive (Duchess)
71 f
Partly Sunny

They finished their first gallon of 1:1 medicated syrup the previous day.  I added another 1/2 gallon of unmedicated then, yesterday evening.  There were a handful of drowned bees in the HTF then but none today.  I check each day now to see how fast they're taking it. 

Once the HTF was off I was able to see that the bees were working in frames 4 through 7.  I pulled the cage frame and saw the Queen had been released.  They had not built too much comb around the cage.  It came out with only a small tug.  The rest of the frame had been mostly drawn out & somewhat filled with pollen & syrup or nectar.

Bees working 4 through 7
(click to enlarge)

Almost capped syrup at the top

Frames 4 through 7 were close to being completely drawn out.  Beautiful white wax.  They had also capped a small patch of syrup on frame 4.  The frames were a mix of new wax & old wax.  The bees used the old wax from the rewaxing effort to build the comb down on the lower half of the frames.

Frames 5 & 6 is where the eggs were at.  Closer to the top of the frames mostly.  There was also pollen & syrup on the ends.  The bees obscured the view but I'll say half of the typical brood nest area had eggs on each frame.  The Queen was on frame 5.  Busily laying eggs.  She looks OK and the workers are taking care of her.

Queen & eggs

Frame 7 is the Drone frame.  It has been partially drawn out but the queen has not got to it yet.  In the meantime the bees are storing some syrup on it.  I'd love to use these drone frames in the honey suppers.  The cells are much bigger than normal brood cells.  So more space would be dedicated to honey than comb wall.

On frame 6 there was 2 Queen cups.   At first I thought they were Supercedure cells.  Since then I have learned that they are only 'Cups'.  The bees regularly construct Queen cups.  So if something happens to the Queen they can quickly form a emergency Queen cell.  As much as they are always making these they are also tearing them down.  So there should always be some somewhere in the hive.  I mentioned this to one of the Bee club leaders.  They thought the stress of being shipped was enough to cause the bees to make these so soon.  As of now it doesn't seem to mean anything is wrong with the colony.  I'll be watching for any other signs though.

Queen cup.  Currently filled with pollen

The colony is looking good.  They are building up the comb & population.  They may need another hive body in the next week or two.  She doesn't have a name yet because it's too early to know what she's like.  It'll be 45 days, or so, until all the bees are daughters of the Queen.  Then I can get a good idea of what the colonies personality is going to be like.  I'd settle for calm & productive, but who wouldn't.

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