I’m once again a little behind on posting. I won’t bore you with excuses and reasons but I will apologize. This balancing game is keeping me on my toes but occasionally I fall flat footed. So here’s to getting better!
It has been two weeks since we have been in the hives. After finding our lovely new queen last time I knew we needed to give her time to get mated and laying. Plus after harvesting from the other three hives we just felt they all needed a break from us lol. So Saturday I woke up just excited to get in and see how she was progressing. I should have known the second I checked out my window that it was not going to be a very great day.
You typically do not want to break into the hive when it is cold or windy. The girls don’t like the wind and you don’t want to cool down the hive too much. They like it a toasty 95 degrees in the hive. Well I woke to a chilly 60 degrees and wind. Mind you we’ve been in the upper 80’s and 90’s all week so I wasn’t expecting this. The other part of this, you typically don’t want to inspect first thing in the morning. You want to give the girls a chance to get up and take off for their foraging flights.
So we waited. I tinkered about the garden and started preparing that for my fall planting. Ultimately just kept an eye on the activity of the hives and waited.
Once the temperature broke 70 degrees and it was still mid morning I knew we were safe to go in. And in we went. I didn’t have my phone out so that I could concentrate on really inspecting the frames. As we got through the first box my excitement was waning. I wasn’t seeing any signs of her laying. But I knew we had a box to go and 9 frames to still inspect. The second frame in the bottom box stopped me in my tracks. What in heaven’s sake was happening?! There lining the bottom of the frame was 4 FULLY CAPPED QUEEN CELLS! And to that there was one that was being filled with royal jelly and had larvae in it and still another 4 cups. The next frame we pulled had another 2 fully capped queen cells. These though were in the middle of the frame. Typically when the cells are at the bottom of the frame it means the hive is going to swarm and when the cell is in the middle of the frame the bees are just replacing the queen. They could do this because she is sick, not a good layer, old, whatever.
I’m now sitting there freaking out and not knowing what to do. Especially when on the next frame I find eggs and larvae. The frame after that I find my beautiful, if not a little slow, queen. She’s not moving about the frame with the ease and quickness as any of the other queens. Hubs and I contemplated our options: split the hive or let the girls figure it out. I was firmly on team “Let them figure it out”. It had worked in the past and this late in the year I don’t know if I can successfully do a split and get them ready for winter. Hubs on the other hand was ready to split and expand. So what did I do…..I tucked everybody back in and went for help!