Friday, April 24, 2009

Queen release and other troubles

Well last weekend was cold and rainy and we weren't able to check up on the newly installed colony. I took today off and it was warm and dry, so we went to check to see how the bees were doing. We expected to see all the burr comb in the empty space where the queen cage was hanging, but we didn't expect to see the new Queen still inside the cage! To our horror the bees did not eat through the marshmallow and release her in 13 days. Instead they built burr comb over the opening, sealing her inside.

She was still alive and being fed by attendants through the screen. We quickly released her and she dropped into the hive with her attendants. But was it too late? Some of the burr comb had a new queen cell. It takes 16 days to produce a new queen, but when did they give up on the caged queen and decide to produce another? Will she be accepted now? Will she begin producing? Stay tuned for another update next week.

On to the surviving colony from last year. This hive was weak, but somehow survived the winter. There was new brood, but we did not find the queen. The brood patterns looked good and there was still some stored honey remaining. We hope this colony is now past the worst and will recover fully. Here is a picture of the brood from today's inspection:
Brood Pattern

We had some good rain last week and everything is greening up nicely. The dandelions are in full bloom and our fruit trees are just about to pop. We hope this translates into a good nectar flow soon.

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