Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Queen saga continued

So I rechecked the hive again today. It's a wonder the bees haven't packed their bags and left yet. There are still NO EGGS and the hive is calm again, but now I found 3 supersedure cells! I have to do SOMETHING. Upon the advice of someone from the Wasatch Beekeepers Association, I removed all the supersedure cells I could find, sprayed the hive (mainly the frames but the bees too) with sugar syrup and bee oil and re-installed the new queen. The bees aggressively crowded the queen cage again, but I really need to let the bees work things out. I will check again in 4 days to see what is happening. I hope I can stand it. Here are what the cells looked like -

Supersedure Cell
Beginning of a supersedure cell

See - no eggs... :-(

Some pollen

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh the agony

I couldn't stand it any more. I think I'm loosing my mind. I removed new queen from the hive. She is still alive in her cage and the hive is still aggressive. The original queen must still be in there. I'll add more syrup tonight and let it rest for a few days while I figure out what to do. In the mean time I have a queen and about 30 attendants in a package cage sitting on my dining room table.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Queen concerns

I feel so bad thinking I am sending our new queen to a certain death. All the feedback I've received is that the original queen is probably still in the hive. A queenless hive is usually aggressive, and this one is calm (until I installed the new queen). But I can't find the old queen! I had to go check and see how Queen #2 is faring. She is still alive in her cage. Bees are still surrounding queen cage with a not so friendly demeanor. Hive is grouchy and aggressive today. I'll leave her in and see how the hive is tomorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Starting to worry

This morning I did a more thorough inspection, and still saw NO EGGS, LARVAE OR BROOD. I looked for over an hour and could not find the queen or eggs or larvae or brood. The hive was quite calm through all my poking around, but it is obvious that I need to do something... So this afternoon I purchased a new queen, likely Italian, from Jones Bee and after another thorough search for the old queen, installed her Majesty #2 in the hive. The hive was fairly calm until I started brushing bees off the frames (I was desperately searching for any signs of a queen at that point). But when I installed the new queen, the hive completely changed. They were obviously unhappy about this intruder. The bees covered the queen cage immediately and I don't think they giving her a very warm welcome. The entire hive became aggressive and very defensive. I decided to close up the hive and get out of there. I did however see a few capped honey cells in this ordeal.

One thing that happened before I got busy installing Queenie #2, which is REALLY NEAT, is that my kids and I were having a snack (with the new queen in her container on the table) when we heard this strange peeping sound. We discovered that it was coming from the container, and that it was the queen piping. Of course hearing this changed our relationship with this queen. She peeped herself a warm spot in our hearts. We're such suckers don't you think? ;-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where are the eggs???

Today I refilled the inhive feeder and entrance feeder. The bees are calm. Weather will be getting colder again. I am seeing NO EGGS OR BROOD, but pollen and sugar syrup is evident in some cells. The past few days it was finally warm enough for the bees to actively fly. But why are there NO EGGS??? Maybe it's the weather. I suppose I'll wait till the next inspection before I take action. The Beeline was noted and I observed a 3pm rush hour. It looks like a thin cloud of bees hovering in front of the hive. I am happy to see the bees doing their thing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Little piggies

Wow - these bees are hungry! The entrance feeder is already empty. I suppose they need all the help they can get so I put the hive feeder back in and refilled the entrance feeder. They can have two sources of syrup, at least for now while they get going.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

First Inspection

It's finally (barely) warm enough to check the hive! Weather has been cold and miserable all week. I have no idea how the bees are doing, or if they have any syrup left.  Here is my inspection report;

Bees are calm and queen has been released so I removed her cage. I didn't check for eggs at this point since it is still very early.

All syrup has been consumed from the in-hive frame feeder. It is bone dry. I was worried about this since it has been too cold to open the hive to check it. I decided to switch to an entrance feeder. At least then I could see how much they are consuming, and can refill without getting into the hive.

Bees have started to draw comb on 4 frames, but it is still thin, but encouraging nonetheless.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Installing a package of bees

Here are some photos of our new additions to our household.  The fuzzy ones were taken by my son through a screen door.  There were just too many bees buzzing around for his comfort.  Enjoy!

The syrup can is really hard to get out.  I had to split the box to get it out.

Queen in her cage

Shaking the bees out of their box.

More shaking.  Bees all over.  Nerves of steel required for a newbee.

All done!

Bees fanning to gather the crowd.

More serious fanning going on here.

Got Bees?

I have been fascinated with bees for the past few years, and finally this past winter I decided I would finally take a shot at beekeeping.  I ordered (well in advance) two 4 lb. packages of bees, ready for delivery sometime in Spring.  I couldn't wait.

So as life would have it, lots of changes took place in my household and family in the months while waiting for my insects to arrive.  I ended up putting my house up for sale, and in all the chaos, I thought it wise to cancel the honeybees I had on order.  It really didn't make sense to acquire bees when I knew the possibility of moving was in our not-so-distant future.  The kids and I were sad, but accepted the reality of our circumstances.

We did decide though that we would take a field trip to at least see other people getting their bees.  Wow - what a sight!  Hundreds of thousands of bees, all packaged in neat wooden containers with screened sides. At least 4-6 pallets stacked full of bee boxes.  Escaped bees confused and aimlessly buzzing around, people coming and going, some with pick-up trucks for larger orders, most simply putting the bees in the trunk of their cars, but all of them with a nervous smile plastered on their face.  If only I would have remembered my camera!

We enjoyed meeting beekeepers and connecting with the local beekeeping clubs, seeing the bees, and wishing we would have kept our order in place.  Then the strangest thing happened...  In speaking with the organizer of the entire sales event, knowing that all the bee packages were spoken for, we were offered a package of bees (but not for free)!  In my weakness, I eagerly accepted the treasure box presented to me.  We rushed to the car with the same nervous smile as everyone else, put the buzzing bounty in the trunk and headed home.  About half way home I really began questioning my sanity, but kept going until we stopped in our garage.  We opened the trunk and gazed in amazement.  Now What??? 
A 3 lb package of bees in my driveway.