We’ve had so much going on that I always forget to give some updates on our hive. This is our first year with the bees and it is turning out to be a very big learning experience. It’s amazing the little black and yellow fuzzy flyers have managed to survive without us for so long.
The bees are easily forgettable as you only check in on the hive about once a week. However our bees started showing signs that big changes were coming in the hive. The pictures below are of our frames with some “swarm/supersedure” cells. They are the goofy peanut looking shapes.
I’m still a bit unsure what the difference between supersedure and queen cells is but I do know, it’s not a great sign when you are this late into the season. Typically it means your hive is not happy with the queen or she left and the hive is trying to replace her. Without a queen, means no more brood(baby eggs), which means your hive will fail and your bees will not survive.
After many confusing, contradicting, conversations with bee-goers in Madison, it was suggested that we check the hive and make sure there are not any signs of new eggs, which is also a sign of a queen-less hive. We checked and didn’t find any. The picture below is a hive with fresh brood in it, this is what we were looking for in our hive.
So, no brood=no queen. Thankfully we found someone locally that had been raising some extra queens, that is a process all in its self, and was willing to sell us one for $20. We met in the parking lot of my office and exchanged the queen for cash. The next day I introduced the queen into the hive by using a push screen method. This method requires a simple 1″ thick by 6″x6″ box made from small gauge hardware cloth that you push up tightly into some fresh comb with the queen inside. It allows the new queen to be introduced yet protected for a few days until the hive accepts her.
After a few days, we checked, there weren’t any bees hanging on the screen bothering her, which means the hive has accepted her. We carefully took off the screen and let her walk out into the rest of the frames. We have yet to check on her, probably this coming weekend we will see if we have any new brood in our hive.
We haven’t started harvesting any honey yet due to our mishap with the queen. We’ll need to make sure the hive is strong enough before we take any honey from them before winter comes. Which totally stinks! 😦