The Swarm hive

It’s finally summer around these parts, and our time is our scarcest resource with so much going on around our farmlette, but I’m finally writing about our crazy bees. Yes, we have a garden too, but it is always taking backseat to the bees, as plants are substantially more patient than bees.

We really need to name the bee hives. It’s getting confusing to talk about them. The old queen is in the new hive, the old hive is going to have a new queen (hopefully). The situation does not lend itself to simple conversation at cocktail parties when people ask, “And how are the bees?” Anyway, this is a quick update on the swarm hive, which has the original queen that we bought in April.

The hive has eggs and brood in beautiful rainbow patterns, and a few frames of honey and brood. This website describes the rainbow pattern clearly:

It is typical for a frame to have a rainbow shape of stored nectar, pollen and brood. Usually the brood will be toward the lower part of the rainbow, and next to the brood will be pollen, then the nectar will be stored on the outer or upper part of the rainbow shape.

Last week, I added a second medium 10-frame box about a week ago, and they have started drawing it out. This week, I baited the upper box by moving one of the deep frames from the lower box today in hopes that more bee presence will speed up the building. I had to leave an empty space in the lower box so the bigger frame could hang down. I hope they move into the second box before they take advantage of the extra space in the lower box and build wild and crazy burr and brace comb.

Here’s an interesting shot of eggs on black plastic foundation. We use wax foundation usually, but the hive I borrowed from my fellow beekeeper, Duane, came with some black plastic foundation. I have to say, it does make for very easy egg spotting! It’s tough to imagine this tiny white thread becoming a honeybee, but it almost certainly will.

And this is an awesome photo that Levi took of the marked queen that came with our package of bees. This clinched it with all certainty that the swarm was most definitely from our hive — not that we really had any doubt, but you know. It was nice to see her again. She is certainly a lovely bug.

So, that’s the status of this swarm about three weeks after it was issued from the garden hive and ended up in the Italian plum tree. We’re supposed to have an awfully hot week, so hopefully these ladies can start making up for a lot of the lost weeks of rainy weather.


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Filed under bees, summer, urban farming

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