Yesterday I checked the hives for the first time in just over a week.
You can see white and yellow capped cells in the above picture.
The white are capped “honey”. Really, it’s the sugar water I had been feeding them. They ran out of feed a little while back and I won’t be replacing it for them… they’ve gotten the kick they needed and seem to be carrying on via foraging.
The yellow are brood cells, which means our queen is laying in full force! To the right of the main cluster of brood in the picture above, you can even see some growing larvae (look closely, they’re little while curled up horseshoe shapes at the bottom of the cell). And you can’t see in the picture but there are eggs in many more cells all over the place.
By my understanding, the bees like to keep their brood in the middle of the frame, and will pack in other resources towards the edges. This helps them keep the brood at a good temperature, amongst other things, and the food will help them last the winter (already building reserves!). You can also see pollen — which they use as a major protein source — being stored especially towards the top right of the photo (it’s the weird off-coloration stuff).
Her majesty, the queen, is visible as the long black bee in these pictures.
For reference this is the Carniolan queen — in this checkup I checked for but didn’t locate the Italian queen in the other hive.
The larger capped cells in the pictures above are drone cells (this is from the Italian hive, though both had quite a few drone cells). There are quite a lot of them across both hives.
- Hives produce an amount of drones, especially in springtime.
- If the hive were producing only drones, it would likely be an indication of a ‘laying worker’, and either an absent, weak, or dead queen.
- Both hives are producing both drones and workers (by the looks of it — unsure if any have hatched yet).
So everything should be fine. (Question for more experienced beekeepers: Proportionally how many drone cells should I expect?)
I did find this queen-cup-esque thing in the hive of carnies…
It’s empty so this should also be fine, and I left it alone. The bees will do what they think is best, I’m not about to tell them how to do their beesiness (sorry).
Here you can see the girls lined up and watching me as I mess with their hive. (Note, due to recent events with my team at work, I actually have no idea what “vigilante” means anymore. Nbd.)
3 thoughts on “Bees (update 1)”
Lovely dark queen and good clean comb. Looking good. I’ve never thought about the proportion of drone to worker -I suppose if I saw more than 10% I would be curious, but more than 30% and I’d start to think I had a drone layer. I’ll be interested in what others think.
BTW – that queen cup looks like it’s drawn out beyond the play-cup stage. If it’s charged with royal jelly, and you have a number of them, they are going to swarm.
They’ve got an entire box they’re not using… when I checked @ took those pictures it didn’t look like it was charged (but i’m not sure i’d be able to tell even if it was).
Right now they’re entirely in the upper of the 2 boxes they have, I could try putting that on the bottom to draw them upwards?
You can tell if a queen cup is ‘charged’ if there is milky white fluid with an egg or larva floating on the top.
It sounds like they have plenty of room if they are only in the top box. Once they build up switching the boxes around is a worth considering.