Friday, June 11, 2010

honeybee updates


a beautiful frame showing honey build up--Chalice



Where's the Queen?--Dionysus
it's a bit of a blurry picture, but it shows what the queen looks like compared to the other bees in the hive.  

AVALON:  I don't know what is going on in Avalon.  There is a frame of capped worker-bee larva in one of the honey supers.  There should be no eggs in the honey supers, as there is a queen excluder placed between the brood (egg) boxes and the honey boxes, but there they are.  Along the bottom of the frame are a few queen cells...so now, this is a mystery for the beekeeper (guess, I'm not as smart as I thought I was):  Did they move an egg up there and create a queen for a swarm we missed?  Or, how did a queen get up there to lay eggs?  (it's not a laying worker, because they only lay drones, male bees, which are bigger bees and larve and so are capped differently--it would look like little bullet shapes sticking out of the comb).  In any case, there are no freshly laid eggs, so there is no one currently laying up there.  I dug down into the boxes and pulled out frames in the lower brood boxes to look for eggs...I couldn't find anything.  Which doesn't mean that they aren't there...just that I could not find them.  In the end, I closed up the hive the way I found it and left to ponder what I saw.  

BREE:  I peeked a bit in the lower brood boxes and couldn't find eggs there either, but I didn't look too deeply or bug them too much.  They still have not moved up into the honey supers, but judging from Avalon's behavior, maybe I don't want them up there just yet.  But they look healthy and happy, but for a few ants invading the second box...damn critters.  So, again, I will leave them to do what they need to do and peek at them in a few days to see what new is happening.  

CHALICE: (the swarm hive)  Look phenomenal!  She is building up beautiful honey, beautiful eggs, beautiful larva, beautiful everything!  They are building up the bottom box and staying there for the time being.  Then they will, I assume, then move up into the upper box.  They have beautiful brood patters, surrounded by honey and pollen.  The outer frames are being filled with honey.  They seem to be behaving just like the books tell you they will.  For the record, honeybees, for the most part, do not read the beekeeping books or behave like the books say they will.  

DIONYSUS: There are eggs and larva and lots of bees.  They have moved up into the second box, I think a bit prematurely, as they are building up in the middle of both boxes.  Hopefully, they will begin to build out in both of the boxes and fill up the brood chambers.  But they are laying and growing and looking good.  I will probably add some sugar water for them...they are empty, but still seem interested.  (Chalice is empty, but they don't seem interested anymore).

All in all the bees are...active.  We'll keep an eye on Avalon over the next few days and see if anything happens with eggs or queens in the honey boxes...and figure out what to do from there.  I figure I am learning: I put everything back together to think about what the best next step is.  Usually, I HAVE to DO SOMETHING right then....and then, too often, later I have to fix whatever it is I did.  

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