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Do I have a laying worker and no queen – Part 2 – Sometimes I panic about things.

2 Jul

After I wrote that huge entry about thinking maybe I had a laying worker and no queen, I sat down and did some math.  With the average lifespan of a worker bee about 3 weeks – if I had a laying worker and the queen had not taken – I’d have no bees left – it’s been 12 weeks.

Also, I forget sometimes that so much available literature about bees is about how a hive runs when you force the cell size (using foundation milled to a generic specification) – a Warre on home-made, natural-built comb means that the bees decide what happens each step of the way and so seeing a Warre hive that would, in Langstroth standards, be “drone-heavy” is not unusual – the bees have decided that they need a few guys around…who am I to tell them otherwise?

To further calm my panicky head, I picked up and read the delightfully quick and interesting book The Barefoot Beekeeper – I’d had it laying around for a while but I sort of forgot about it.  It’s lively and adorably British and full of really smart thinking about the connections between the ways bees are kept and the overall health of the population.  Also there are plans for a Kenyan or Horizontal Top Bar Hive in there for those interested in that style.

I took some deep breaths and then decided not to open the hive.  Not yet.  When it’s time to nadir it (soon, I hope) – I can get the queen cage out – but until they need more room…they stay as they are.

This is the hive interior from last week – some capped honey and a bulge in the bottom box that I continually hope is hiding some comb!

I’ve also been slowly working on the vegetable gardens and rain-collection system now that project get-married is over.  I rarely see my bees in my garden (my downstairs neighbor is an earlier riser than I am and assures me that she sees them out there frequently and very early, but I think they just go hang out at the home depot) so I’ve been building upper gardens right around the roof-top hive hoping to catch their interest.  I’ll have to give you all a virtual garden tour soon.

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