After finding our new queen bee in the last inspection, but no eggs and larvae, we decided to be patient and give her more time. We inspected the hive today and found what the hive desperately needed: eggs and larvae. We have a laying queen bee! Whew! This was a close call. You can see in this picture from our hive, the darker cells with a little white at the bottom are eggs and you can see the more mature larvae and even a few covered pupa cells. This is a very healthy looking brood frame. This makes us very happy. We can tell the hive size has dramatically decreased but it will now grow. The bees are very calm. When they didn’t have a queen, they were very agitated. We can tell a marked difference in their behavior.
Since we are past the summer solstice, queen bees are already producing fewer bees to represent the shorter days and the limited number of pollen days left in the year. At least we know the hive will sustain into next year. Other things we noticed:
The frames with honey are overflowing. Our main honey box is full and heavy to lift. A full size western frame full of honey is close to 100 pounds. This means that each frame full of honey weighs about 10 pounds. This is how our top western box is. Each frame is burgeoning with honey. Here is a picture of one of the frames full of honey. You can see from the 2nd picture that the cells are even extended out past the normal size cells. There is a lot of honey to harvest here. We’ve talked to our mentor about when to harvest and he recommends that we just wait until pollen season is over and do one single harvest.
The new frames that we added early on have not been touched. We added a honey super box and frame as we could tell they needed more room for honey, however, these frames are untouched. The frames are undeveloped, meaning that they don’t have honeycomb built out on them, a process that bees go through early in the spring. Building out the honeycomb must have been more trouble than it was worth, so the bees didn’t use them. They also didn’t use the new frames we inserted into the two brood boxes as replacements for the bad frames as discussed in an earlier post.
Dave and I were worried about the hive, but we can now relax. Everything looks healthy and back to how it should be. Nature took its course as it does every day. The hive created a new queen bee and she knew exactly what to do. It just took time.
Thanks Mother Nature, Sheri