Looking for Brood

Looking for Brood

It’s only been a week since I checked in on the bees, but I am back again invading their space. This spring has had awful weather, rainy and cold. I do appreciate the rain for the sake of the plants and the soil. It’s good to be out of the drought status, but it has been so much for so many days in a row. I would love to have some sunshine for a few days in a row every now and then. The other issue with the weather is that the bees are just not as friendly when it’s cold and cloudy.

Since the Orchard Hive seems to be doing better, I thought I would start with them. They were not thrilled with me being in their home, but they didn’t seem angry. The wasps had to be removed again. Last year, the kind of wasp that had started a nest in the Host Hive was more territorial. If there was remnants of a nest other wasps would not nest in the same space. These wasps are not like that and they don’t even mind nesting with another wasps nesting nest to them.

This is going to make for a challenging beekeeping season if I have to deal with wasps every time. I hope that they get sick of being squashed or shooed out of the hive and not come back. I really hope that I don’t have to find out how my suit will hold up to wasps. After finding out how I react to bee stings, I can’t even begin to imagine how I will react to wasps stings.

The Orchard Hive looks really good. They are growing well and at a steady pace. Out of the eight bars that they have comb on, they have brood on five of them. I found brood at all stages. Most of the brood that I found was worker brood, but they had some drones too. I am sure that once the weather gets better they will have more drone brood.

They also had a good amount of pollen and capped honey. They had bars with honey in the hive to start, but they are also busy make their own. With the weather being what it is, I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to collect as much as they need. I am very happy that I don’t have to feed them sugar water.

Since they are going well and filling their hive with brood and food I gave them three empty bars today. I put the bars on the outer sides of the nest so that I did not break up the brood nest. If we get more cold nights I don’t want the brood to get chilled. I put everything back together and tightened the bars as much as I could then closed the hive. Now to find out what the Willow Hive has in store for me.

The Willow Hive sits in such a beautiful location on the farm right near the pond under a willow tree. The Orchard Hive is near another pond across the way in the apple orchard, it’s also lovely just not as much as the Willow Hive location. On the walk to the Willow Hive, I get to enjoy seeing all the vegetable beds and this year they have added a strawberry patch. I have the geese with their goslings, heron, and turtles on my way to the hive.

Once at the Willow Hive, I opened the lids and their were wasps there too. After they were dealt with I finally got to open the hive. These are some very grumpy bees. They are acting like there is something wrong, but I am not sure what. While inspecting the hive I found brood at all stages, pollen, nectar, capped honey, and the queen. In fact, I found a lot of nectar. This worries me since last year the Willow Hive was nectar bound and the queen had no where to lay eggs which prompted them to swarm late in the season. I will have to continue to monitor this closely.

At this point, there is still some space available for the queen to lay eggs. They don’t seem to be building comb very quickly though. I do have several bars with empty comb, so I will bring one next time to give to them. Hopefully they will be building new comb by then. They have built some new comb, but not as much as I would have thought.

Today I also found queen cups, but only two this time. One was capped, but it looked like they were opening it. There may not be a viable queen in there and they are removing her. They seem to really want to replace this queen for some reason. Maybe she is too old or not healthy. Something seems really off with this colony I am just not sure what it is yet. Time will tell.

Orchard Hive
Willow Window


Capped Queen Cup

Queen Cup in center