Monday, August 5, 2013

A Hard Lesson

Last inspection, we cut off some cells that looked like queen or swarm cells, and this inspection we've learned a hard lesson...
This photo is from the South Hive.  The "underdog" of our hives, it now has some frames packed with honey, and heavy even for Mr. Bee to hold.  The photo hardly shows how this frame was gleaming in the sun with all that sweet honey.

Heavy with Honey
In the North Hive, we realized there are no eggs and no larvae remaining.  Our conclusion is that the queen cells we destroyed were not just extras or swarm cells, but necessary work for the bees to replace a queen.  With no eggs or larvae, we can see that there hasn't been a laying queen for weeks. 

The photo below shows a queen cell, though, and it appears that the bee growing inside has already emerged. We are hoping that the bees started right at it again after the setback and have a new queen in the works.  The older bees will be dying off each day and new eggs and larvae are essential to the hive's survival.

The lesson I walked away with was good for beekeeping and life, I think.  Maybe I shouldn't be so fast to "cut things out" before I look for the deeper reason they may be appearing.  I'm thankful for the advice but sorry that we made the preparation for winter just a bit harder for the bees.  Things like this also make us happy that we decided to have two hives - so that we could see the differences and have a little cushion for our first year mistakes.

Did a Queen Emerge?
- - -

Little Miss Bee and Baby bee watched the inspection, the sunset, and each other.  It was a lovely evening to be outside, collect rocks and sticks, and watch their dad work the bees.

A wren had been scolding us the entire evening, and when I caught a glimpse of this bird, I was sure it was the tiniest bird I'd ever seen aside from a hummingbird.  I was really happy to get a couple of neat photos of it right before we packed up to leave.

This was my favorite photo from the night:


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