Tag Archives: speculation

Post Mortem

9 Sep


I took the top half box (aka the mistake box) off the hive today and scraped all the comb out of it. It’s sad and empty, but so beautiful. I love the way the natural comb just goes where it will, but there’s no wasted space. I’m going to save a few big chunks for future need and melt down the rest.

It looks like, and someone correct me if I’m wrong, there is at least one queen cup in there.


So maybe they swarmed and then the new queen failed?

There are still a few bees wandering around the hive…like 30 or so workers and about 5 drones…I don’t know if they’re mine or not. I figured I’d leave the other full box on for just a few more days so it’s totally robbed out and then wrap it up and stick it in the freezer until next year.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but I feel like I’ve made peace with it and am ready to start with two hives next year, so that I can more readily diagnose issues and take care of them sooner and not have this happen again.



Do I have a laying worker and no queen? Part 1 – the Question.

21 Jun

I went out to look at my hive as soon as we got back from honeymoon expecting to see some building in the lower box on the hive.  It’s been nearly 3 months and there had been some action that looked like the beginnings of a bulge down there just before we left for the wedding:

The upper left is view into the bottom box that I thought was being worked on, the rest is upper box, some honey, some capped brood (although on second look, I think that’s all drone brood)….things looking really hopeful.  This was memorial day.

Three weeks later, still no action in the bottom box and combs that look almost…empty…in the upper box….no capped brood visible, no real major honey stores, and lots and lots of drones….or to my eye lots.  I took a video of the hive entrance – toward the middle you can start to see drones being pushed out or coming out, one after another after another.

You can also see one of the girls fanning her Nasanov glands.  I wonder that they should still be doing that after 3 months, but I don’t know enough to know.

If I have a laying worker – which all this could be a symptom of – the queen didn’t take after all and a hormonal gal just started filling in for her – unfortunately she’s only built to lay drone eggs, so lots of lazy dudes, no new industrious girls and a hive that’s doomed to failure unless I can appropriately intervene…..it’s a lot of pressure.

I contacted my teacher about my fears and he wants me to suit up, smoke ’em up, and open ’em up to see what I can see from the inside of the hive.  This will be my first time opening the hive, my first time lighting the smoker, and some real inexperience on the part of me in doing all this….so obviously, I’m going to try to make a video or at least take a bunch of pictures.   I’m not going to be able to get out there to do it until Saturday, so Part 2 will have to wait until then.

As far as I can tell, though, the best inervention method for this situation …if it is a situation… might mean getting a little creative.  I don’t have another hive from which I can “borrow” capped brood and some open eggs – which I’d need…and in a frameless hive, it’s not like I can stick in a lang frame with which to repair this – they won’t fit in my box – not so plug and play over here in warre land!  I think I’ll have to find someone willing to give or sell me some chunks of comb with brood on them and then attach them to the top bars in my warre box with a little creativity and some floral wire and hope that the bees accept them and then rear themselves a new queen.  If this sounds crazy to you….well…it is.

The one positive thing I can say from what I’ve observed is that they had a big Flight School day the other day -aka orientation flights.  I was out in the yard with the dogs and all of the sudden the hive got LOUD and when I looked up there were a TON of bees just flitting about around the hive.  Eventually they settled down and all went back in.  I thought they were swarming or worse! absconding! but I watched as they stayed quite close to the hive and did the characteristic circling motions and then seemed to all return to the hive – no dark beeline in the sky – just a happy little flying lesson.

Quiet Bees are Queenright Bees!

6 Apr

I sort of opened up the hive this morning – took the roof and the quilt off to get at the feeder to fill it, since I might not be able to go back out until Tuesday at this point.  The hive was nearly silent, but the feeder area was jam packed with bees guzzling down the  syrup.  Quiet bees are queenright bees, so I’m feeling pretty confident that they’ve accepted her.  I want to name her, but not until I see some brood going in….which may be a bit since they seem to be building into a box I can’t see into.  I was going to try to peer down through the feeder but it was super full of bees and it was a little chilly still – there were bees flying but I felt bad about having the roof off – so I just filled and buttoned it back up again.  If I can get out there Sunday, I will – but if not, I don’t have a window until Tuesday.  I’ll snoop around, take some pictures, and fill the feeder again – unless it’s raining – which it may be.

I also just ordered some lemon grass oil to bait my TBH with.  I want those neighbor bees to swarm on over here!

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