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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Joy in Beeville - There is a Queen!


Today was the first warm sunny day when I could open the hive to check for evidence of a queen. On both the Beemaster and Beesource forum groups, I had gotten the message that sometimes a hive goes into winter with two queens. Also Cindy Bee, PN Williams, and Jerry Wallace (all in my Metro bee group) had suggested that as a possibility as well.

When they go into winter with two queens, after a while they get rid of the old queen....but the only way I could know for sure was to check the hive to see if there were new brood or to see the queen.

I opened the hive with the goal of checking for new brood. I don't do well at queen spotting and wasn't going to keep the hive open any longer than I had to. The bees were quite unhappy with me for opening the box. I got head-butted throughout my inspection. The hive is all in medium boxes and went into winter in 2 1/2 mediums. The top box has four frames of honey and the other half is empty for a feeding jar. In the second box (the top full box) I started looking for the queen evidence.

The first four frames were all honey, but that felt reassuring to me since I wanted to make sure they still had enough stores. The fifth frame had capped brood on it and I took it out to look at it closely. There were eggs!!!!!! and tiny brood, as you can see very well in the first picture if you click on it to make it larger. Since I saw the dead queen on Sunday, six days ago, obviously these eggs were just laid - so Princess Honey ousted her mother and rules supreme.

In the second picture you can see older brood, still young, although in the center left you can see larva about to need capping.

The other good news is that the hive was chock full of bees. I didn't brush any out of the way, but in the third picture in the center left, again you can see a cell with an egg in it.

The fourth picture has some very, very young c-shaped larvae in it.

The only bothersome part of this inspection is that I saw lots of SHBs and I thought they were supposed to die out over the winter. I didn't see any damage in the hive from the beetles, but they were still there in force and I currently don't have a Sonny-Mel trap on either hive.

Also you might note in the bottom right corner of the last picture, there is a Varroa mite on the back of a bee. I took lots of close-up pictures and this is the only mite I saw, but it does mean that as soon as I am regularly inspecting the hives, the bees will get a powdered sugar shower!

I also opened Mellona and found a full cluster of bees in the bottom box. They are flying in with pollen and I am not too worried about the hive, so I didn't check it for being queenright.

All I can say now is "Long Live the Queen" - at least I hope until warmer weather returns and drones are again available for their very important job.
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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:27 PM

    Awesome! That second queen must have been in there for awhile if she is mated. The drones have been gone for a few months. Just to make sure- these are worker cells and not drone cells that she is laying in? It would be a real downer if she is a drone layer.

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  2. Anonymous12:30 PM

    I am so relieved!!!!!

    Annette

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