Monday, June 22, 2015

Egg Hunt


Last week, my nuc Peach was bursting at the seams, and I had to donate three bars from her to Austeja and Bubblegum. Today, she did not disappoint. Every empty bar I gave her had drawn comb and eggs. However, her honey reserves were getting close to being depleted -- from raising all that brood I imagine.

Yellow clover


Yesterday, I installed a new hive. My Frozen-obsessed daughter christened it Queen Elsa. I had wanted to move Peach, in its entirety, over to the new hive. However, the bars in Peach were too short (long story). I was only able to take 4 bars of stores and capped brood. Being total rubbish at spotting queens, I'm not sure if Peach or Elsa has the queen now.

95% finished. Still need to build the roof, but Peach really needed more space.

Just in case, I had hoped to get a bar of eggs for Elsa from Bubblegum or Austeja, but no luck. (Peach has plenty of stick eggs.) Instead, I had to pinch some stick eggs from Hippolyte. I didn't really want to do that since Hippolyte has the southern package queen, but it's better than nothing. And if Elsa makes a new queen, fingers crossed that Her Majesty will have some local suitors.


I'm not worried yet about this colony, but I'm getting antsy. Today should be day 10 from the queen's emergence. There is very little nectar left in the hive. No eggs. I haven't heard the queen piping at all. Just in case, I gave her a new bar of eggs.


Austeja's newly appointed monarch was piping last week, so I was hopeful to see some progress today when I opened the hive. Nope, not a bit. I searched every bar, and not an egg was to be found. There was one capped queen cell, but it looked weird to me -- there was a dark patchy area on it. As some added insurance, she got a bar of eggs, too.

Is it just me, or does that queen cell look weird?

The one upside to being queenless is that this colony has really been socking honey away. Right now, the catalpa, basswood, and sumac are all blooming, Roadside ditches are full of things like hairy vetch, chicory, evening primrose, yarrow, milkweed, and common mullein.  Gardens are boasting yellow loosestrife, tiger lilies. and Asiatic lilies. Clover (white, red, yellow...) is having its heyday, too, providing abundant forage for lots of critters.


A jar of syrup last week really seemed to give this colony the boost that it needed. It had 15 drawn bars of comb with lots of eggs and brood. With all my troubles trying to get queens started in previously mentioned hives, I'm not going to bother trying to raise a new queen for the package colonies. Time is starting to run short again now that the summer solstice has passed. I'll probably just take my chances. If I change my mind, I'll buy a queen.

Basswood -- There are several parking lots full of these near my house. Score!


Persephone has not built out as much as I'd like. Although she has comb on 18 bars, only about half of them are fully drawn. Of all the hives, she gets the most shade. I wonder if that has something to do with it.

However, I can see that she's made a lot of progress building after getting a quart of syrup last week, so I'm going to continue feeding.

Common mullein
Next Steps

Except for Austeja, every colony got a quart of syrup today. I felt the splits could use some coddling, and I wanted the package colonies to continue building out.

I'm not freaking out about the lack of eggs in Austeja and Bubblegum yet, but I might be by the end of the week. We'll see. On Thursday, I'll inspect Peach and Elsa to see which one has the queen. At the same time, I'll do a quick check on Austeja and Bubblegum. If I see queen cells, I'll know something has happened. If I don't, then they have until the 30th to lay eggs. If eggs are still noticeably absent then, I'll probably be in the market for some new queens.


  1. I'm impressed that even though you had such a brutal winter, that your plants are as far along or even farther than what we have our here. Our lindens/basswoods have been ready to pop for weeks, but it's only just in the past few days that they actually flowered. But we have a great honey flow going on now. Looks like you are having a lot of fun with all the activity in your bee yard!

    1. It's interesting comparing our seasons. Your spring seems to start earlier but linger longer. Ours are more fast and furious. Glad to hear that you have a great flow going on. Must be all the rain you had!


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