I know some of you have bee-sting allergies and bee phobias, so now is your time to check out another blog! :)
For the rest of you....
I inspected all four of my hives yesterday. When you crack open a hive after a long winter, this is a good thing to see...
So many bees! So many, in fact, that I am going to have to make sure they don't swarm in May!
And look at this beautiful frame of capped honey they have for themselves...
And I soon found the queen. Do you see her below? She's marked. And how about the eggs in those open cells? Hint: they look like grains of rice.
That is my strongest colony. Lots of bees, lots of eggs and capped brood and a healthy laying queen. My beekeeper friend Pierre will help me split this hive into two hives in a few weeks or so!
Beautiful bees! Can you see the girl in the lower right quadrant with pollen packed onto the "baskets" on her legs?
This is an excellent thing to see in April!
There was a queen in this hive too. Can you see her? She's marked but a bit trickier to spot!
I circled her to help you out!
But waaaaait a minute. On the other side of that frame, I found ANOTHER queen! Two queens in one hive is NOT the norm. Can you spot the queen below? She's not marked but she's bigger, with a darker thorax (back)...
Here's a hint:
I think she's pretty obvious here:
So why two queens? Well, the hive has decided the old queen is past her best-before date, so they've made a new queen (the unmarked one above.) But she's still a virgin! Once she's gone out on her mating flight and returned after getting hot and heavy with many drones, the worker bees will
KILL the old queen.
Long live the new queen! That's how it works in the hive.
Can you see the old queen in this pic?
There she is...
The poor dear. She's worked hard, but she's doomed. This hive is my weakest of the four, but there are eggs and larvae and enough bees that they should be able to keep going and become stronger with the new queen laying future generations.
So far, so good. Four hives have made it through the winter. We'll see how this whacky, two-queened one does, but the rest all look strong and I found queens and eggs in all of them, as well as ample bees and some honey stores, so I can breathe a bit more easily now.
And here is today's Alex-plea for donations for our OSPCA Friends for Life Walk-a-thon!
Hope you had a good day!