It was a beautful, mid 60’s kind of day today. The perfect kind of weather for planting the garden and checking on the bees. Carolyn planted tomatoes and peppers today, all in the hopes we dont get another hard freeze. They have some protection in the form of walls of water and our cold frame, but another night like we had earlier in the week would hurt. Had a night of 26 degrees on Tuesday and it looks like someone went through my little vineyard with a blow torch. Such is gardening in the high desert. Now on to the bees.
Beekeeping is so unpredictable that the measure of my excitement might seem out of place for such a simple event. I mean really, if you know what you’re doing, or at least search out good council, success should come a vast majority of the time. Well, quite simply, if I’ve learned anything about beekeeping, it rarely works out as you expect. So though I was excited to inspect the hive taken as a split (now referred to as the “split hive”) from Phyllis hive, I really had no idea what I would find.
Upon removing the top of the hive and using a small amount of smoke I was amazed to see the number of bees peaking up at me over the tops of the frames (if an insect can be cute then this is it) – a good sign. I began removing frames and found 6 of them filled with capped brood. When those bees hatch in the next ten days to two weeks this hive is going to explode! Then upon pulling the 7th frame I found the queen. That’s always exciting because an unmarked queen can be hard to find. I’m getting better at it, but still get a thrill when I find the girl. I carefully replaced the frame and let her go back to work.
Time for another box to expand the hive. It was already full of bees and with the number of new bees schedule to come on board soon, they are going to need a lot more room. So the split has been a success. The only way this hive could be so far along in three weeks time is for the queen cell attached to one of the frames I took from Phyllis hive to have hatched. I wasn’t sure it was a healthy queen cell when we took it, but obviously it was and I couldn’t be happier with how its turned out. If they had used an egg to develop a queen she would only be a few days old and there would be no capped brood.
I closed the hive up knowing they are well on their way and feeling good about a chance to get some honey from this hive, though I must admit, it is very tempting to split THIS hive. I like these bees. They are easy going and are clearly very productive, not to mention they have made it through a Central Oregon winter. (for Phyllis) What a great feeling to know it all worked as it should.
I then moved on to the requeened hive. She’s been a busy girl. The randomly scattered brood pattern the old queen left behind across six frames is being filled in and beginning to look pretty good. I thought this queen might be a little further along at this point but I can’t complain.
Overall these two “experiments” have gone about as well as can be expected. The split hive is thriving and the requeened hive is rapidly getting its act together. That is success no matter how you spell it. A couple of other hives are getting to be a bit of a mystery and only time will tell what’s going on in them. That’s part of the intrigue of beekeeping. Each hive has its own story to tell and it can be a challenge to the beek to determine just what’s going on in each of them. More on the other hives later.
Have a great holiday weekend all!