Sometimes people ask what is happening with our bees. We had a strange and interesting check this week, so here’s an update.
Hive one has always been busier, with lots of traffic and near-constant bearding this summer. They’re laying the best brood pattern we may have ever had, dense and populous with few gaps. There are just a ton of bees, and they built out to the end of the brood chamber, so we added a super and are feeling good about that unit.
The second hive has been slow-going, with sparse traffic. We wondered at times if they were completely gone, but after popping the top discovered they were still there. This week, there was barely any capped brood. The hive components had suffered from a late-spring carpenter ant infestation, and I’m sure that didn’t help matters. But most notably, we discovered queen cells: a ruptured empty cell, and one with a dead larval queen. Based on the placement of these cells, our guess is the queen died, and they made a new one. I think I saw her but am not sure. Reading tells me she’ll take up to a month to lay again. We’ll look again in a week.
It continues to boggle my mind how the bees and their frames talk to you. We are getting better at reading, and it is astonishing how year after year, they continue to say new things.