We had an interesting week of hive checks at bees and trees. I had planned on giving many of my hives a week off to keep growing, but sometimes plans change.
Student Hive: This is one of the Saskatraz hives I purchased this spring. In the fall I had a family express interest in raising bees, but they didn’t know a lot about it. After installing the bees and guiding them through the first few hive checks, I had recommended they check the next time and let me know how it goes.
Plans changed, as I received a text on 5/16 stating they saw eggs but couldn’t find the queen and there were some mysterious capped brood. Afraid it was a queen cell, I went over to inspect. Thankfully, within pulling two frames we found the queen and the mysterious brood was just drone (male) brood. Crisis averted.
Pluim Hives: I have two hives here on my property, both Saskatraz. I had checked The left one last week, so I though I’d check the other one yesterday when I had a minute.
Wow, that queen is rockin’! There were eggs in nearly every open cell!
She was going back and filling in all of the cells where brood had just hatched as well, so things were pretty strong with her. The only problem is, unlike every other hive I have, I don’t have a Vivaldi board on that one. This means there is no upper entrance, which leads to all of the bees being on the side of the box nearest the entrance. I need to get to making one, as I think it’s limiting their progress.
The other Pluim hive I will check this week. I’m also probably going to take a few frames to school on Thursday or Friday, so hope all stays smooth!
Oak Grove hives: Here I had three hives, a new Saskatraz, my overwintered aggressive hive, and a nuc I had started using one of the Saskatraz queen cups.
It seems like the bees in the nuc must have destroyed the queen cell, as they were queenless and eggless. I put those frames and bees in to my old hive.
The next hive I checked was the Saskatraz. I must admit I wasn’t very impressed with the queen in this one. After doing very well when I last checked, there were a few frames that were open yet had no eggs. There were some eggs on some frames, but I thought she’d have the thing packed. Their syrup was empty (although they had plenty stored in some comb), so hopefully another 1.5 gallons of syrup will do the trick.
The last hive was my aggressive one. My plan today was to add two supers to it and let it make honey for a while. When I opened it up, there were a lot of bees and eggs on nearly every available spot. I never did find the queen, but there was plenty of evidence of her, that I wasn’t alarmed.
My next question is, do I let them go to town as a two deep hive and make honey all summer, or should I split it down so I’d have two single box hives, one with the new queen that’d focus on honey production, while the other builds towards lasting the winter? I like the idea of continuing to multiply my hives, but the chance of getting some good honey is also tempting.
Oh yeah, one last and potentially important thing. The aggressive hive was no longer aggressive! There were bees who were out while I went through the hive, but not even close to the aggression of the past. So happy for that.
Welp, next time I should have an answer about splitting the hive and seeing how the observation hive went with students. Also, I may be getting close to putting a super or two on one of my Saskatraz hives.