Hive Inspection 05 May 2012:
I am still amazed that I was able to capture this moment. In the photo above there are four bees in various stages of emergence. The furry bee in the center is almost completely free of its cell while the others are still chewing through their wax cappings. I love the raw, ragged edges of the newly empty cells. It's so incredible to watch the transformation of a plain sheet of beeswax foundation into a wonderland of hatching bees - in just three weeks! All it takes is energy, dedication, and a large dose of magic.
The first hive I opened is thriving. The first generation of daughters has almost fully emerged, and the population is noticeably larger. They have begun to draw comb in the upper hive body, and there are lots of new eggs and various stages of brood. The foundationless frames are indistinguishable from the standard frames.
The second hive is doing well, but as you can see in the photo their population is not as numerous as the other hive. I believe this is because they had some setbacks in their initial attempts to draw comb. They seem to be about a week and a half behind, and when I get in here again next week I expect to see a larger swell of bees. Found the queen, and am still slightly doubting her Italian heritage. She just looks so drastically different than the other queen.
Sometimes bees will draw an excessive amount of drone cells on foundationless frames, and my bees are no exception. Even though it is undesirable, this frame is absolutely fantastic to me. Look at that texture! It is a work of art. And lucky for me, I get to save it. Instead of using chemicals to control mites in your hive you can remove a frame of drone cells, freeze it to kill all of the larvae and mites, and replace it in your hive for the bees to clean and use again. Once a drone cell, always a drone cell, so this frame should serve as a pest control aid for a long time. Luck was not with me, and the queen was on this frame when I went to remove it, and she's a runner. I chased her down with the brush and knocked her into the hive, unleashing the fury of hell referred to in my previous post. A novice move? Probably. But I was on my own that day.
Please, pause and take another look at this. Such a beauty.
I can't fail to mention the real stars of the show these days - the field bees. These girls are working overtime right now. The weather is warmer, babies are emerging, and the population is really beginning to increase. Bees are coming into the hive absolutely loaded with pollen to feed all of those hungry mouths.
Allow me a brief divergence - my native shooting star bulbs are blooming for the first time and I am so excited I can't stand it. This is my favorite northwest wildflower and it now lives in my garden. Botanical bliss! What's new in your garden today?