Bee Diary: July 2, 2010

Summer                                   Waning Strawberry Moon

Just sent an e-mail to the Minnesota Hobby Beekeeper’s Association.  I need help.  We’re in mid-season now and I don’t understand what I’m seeing in the hives, nor do I understand enough about where things should be right now.  The two  make a whole.  That is, I don’t understand what I’m seeing because I don’t know where things should be right now.

I did a reverse on the parent colony, the last one, according to the book.  I do have more weight in the second honey super, but little action in three and four. This colony continues to be defensive, much more so than the package and about on par with the divide.

The divide has filled the third hive box with honey, no brood at all.  I don’t know what that means, though I suspect it might mean I’ve had a swarm and am now queenless.  I did see brood, but workers will lay if a queen is gone.  Trouble is, since they’re not fertile, the only thing they can produce are drones.  There did seem to be a number of drone cells–they have a higher cap to accommodate the drone’s larger body.

The package colony looks pristine, the larvae laying pattern seems ok and there is a general air of healthiness.  Not that there isn’t in the other two, but this one is like a puppy, all fresh and perky.  It has not, however, done much work at all on the third hive box, a bit of drawing out comb, but that’s about it.  Again, I don’t know what that means.

I did get stung a couple of times, but I smoked the stings, scraped them off–rather than pull them out which injects more venom–and applied sting-ease.  The parent and the colony both have a more defensive posture than the package.  It could be, too, that I’m still somewhat clumsy with my frame inspections and crush the occasional bee.  There are many more bees in both of these colonies, so more chance for accidents.

So much to learn.