It’s 97F today. It’s April 30th and it’s 97F. Luckily, there was a brisk breeze, but the wind stirs up the bees. I had to check the hives. I did not plan on having three hives. I wanted two. My original hive was thriving and robust, in February I finally had undeniable evidence of a laying queen: lots of brood and stores of pollen. The honey had started flowing.
I bought a package of bees that was delivered to my local post office. I installed that package wrong and they flew away. I then hastily purchased what I thought was a Nuk box of bees. What arrived – delivered persoanlly – was a cut out colony in a super box on foundationless frames. Cut-out bees are feral bees they have take over a wall, attic, tree trunk or the underside of a trailer. They are like feral cats: unpredictable, aggressive and defensive. But they are also scrappy and resilient. They cut out colony became my Hive #2. Then the original hive swarmed. Viola! Hive #3.
So today, I had to check the original hive to determine if I had a new queen or a queenless hive. I did not find a queen. I also did not find any capped brood but I did find a bunch of foundation cells packed with pollen. I want to think those cells have newly laid eggs. I did find an open supercedural queen cell. So, I want to believe that Hive #1 has a queen.
Hive #2 was docile, calm, tidy and compact. I think that they should be in a five frame Nuk box. A ten frame brood box is too big, by I am currently painting my Nuk box, so, a relocation must wait. Their queen is not marked but she is easy to spot.
Hive #3 is a whole different ball of wax. The colony is concentrated in the “super”. There is brood and pollen and honey in abundance. There was some bridging burr comb that I took apart. I have been slowly replacing foundationless frames with wax foundation frames and they have started building comb. But they are fiesty. Or neurotic. Like a box full of Jack Russell terriers and chihuahuas. Yapping and buzzing and slamming into my veil.
Smoke would have helped but the smoker is the most finicky part of keeping bees. 73% of the time, I can’t keep it lit. So, I work without it. But in 97F weather, it is brutally hot. I am thankful that my hive stands are in the shade.