A week ago from this last Friday five new hives were established in my Redmond beeyards and one hive was requeened. As of this last weekend I visited each new hive and can report all are doing well. The Carnolian hives are ahead of the Italian hives at the moment, taking more feed and building a little more comb than the Italians, but this will likely change as the Italians are amazing comb builders when they get their numbers up.
As of this weekend there is no capped brood in any of the new hives. (The picture shown above is of capped brood.) This stands to reason as the queen was not likely released from her cage for a couple days, leaving only 5 to 6 days between installation and my inspection. Brood is capped on the 9th day. I found eggs and larva in all new hives with the exception of one new Italian hive where I only found eggs. This leads me to believe that for whatever reason the queen was not released from her cage as soon as in the other hives. But she is free now and doing well, as are all the other queens, which I did manage to find in each and every hive. That task becomes much more difficult – at least for me – after the hives fill with bees.
In the requeened hive I also found the queen and eggs, so things are progressing as well as could be expected there. The queen she replaced was dispatched this weekend. I had kept her aside in another hive (a nuc box) hoping to jump start her laying but she continues to show a very limited ability to lay eggs. That hive has no future without some kind of change so my options were to dispatch her and add the bees from this weak hive back into their original hive that was requeened, or to try something else. I would never suggest this to anyone as the hive is very weak and your chances for success in a weak hive are often lower than with a strong hive. Regardless, I have a new method of splitting hives I want to try this year and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. The old queen was dispatched and some young larva cells notched. Without a queen the hive should build queen cells where the larva were notched and hopefully raise a strong queen. Again this is a very weak hive and chances of successfully raising a strong queen are limited, but it was the perfect opportunity to give this a try.
I another week or so I will be looking to split some of the stronger hives as that time of year where hives swarm is approaching. More on the splitting process to create new hives as we get into it.
The Colton bees should be coming along at about the same pace as the new hives installed in Redmond. More on them later when I get current information.