(almost) A Royal Mistake

7 Jun

New beekeepers are encouraged to open a hive once a week to learn what goes on in the hive and to make sure that the queen is healthy and laying her eggs. Since we couldn’t do a full hive inspection when we added the second deep, we decided to do it the following day. Since Mike had a soccer game, Deb and I were on our own. Because we didn’t have an extra pair of hands, there aren’t many pictures from the opening. We also didn’t have Mike’s 20/20 vision so I figured we were unlikely to find the queen without him. Deb told me once that on their safari vacation, Mike would spot the animals before the hired animal spotters would.

We suited up and smoked the hive. Surprisingly there were bees in upper honey-filled deep that we just added the day before. We moved it to the ground near the hive so we could look at the deep below.

Unfortunately, there isn’t direct sunlight on the hive around 6pm so it is hard to see the larva in the cells and impossible to see if the queen had laid any new eggs. Deb suggested that we walk a frame across the yard where a streak of sunlight was coming in between the brownstones. Sure enough, we see larva with ease. As we struggle to spot any eggs through our veils, I see her. The Queen, in all her big bum glory, scurrying on THE frame we decided to tour the backyard with. We made a mad dash back to the hive before any of the other bees smelled that she was gone. If she happened to fly away or fall off while we were prancing around the yard we would have been in serious trouble. A queenless hive is CHAOS. Although she may have found her way back, the queen can hardly do anything for herself. It was a VERY risky move not looking for her before took our walk, one that we will avoid in the future, but also something that makes for an amusing blog post. Next hive inspection is tentatively scheduled for the weekend depending on the forecast.

Top of the Frames inside the hive


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