It’s been about a week since I was last in the hives, so heat or no heat, it was time to go back in and check on ‘em.
Over the last two weeks I’ve had two hives that had turned aggressive, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in during the evening. Usually it’s best to go in during the day because more bees are out foraging and those are usually the ones who are most aggressive.
Going back to last week, I had checked all three new nucs to find two new queens and no signs of the third. Tonight I headed straight for the missing queen, in fear I’d be overrun with bees the more I disturbed them.
Well, as you can see in the first picture, I first found evidence of her, then was able to find the final queen! Usually there is a +/- 30% chance the queen won’t come back from her mating flight, so I’m grateful I was 3 for 3. After looking over the other two nucs, it looks like all three new queens are doing well and may be ready for their own hive soon. In fact, one of the nucs was doing so well, I added a queen excluder and honey super above that as they were really bringing in nectar! The queen excluder is a metal (sometimes plastic) frame with perpendicular bars spaces wide enough for most bees to move through but the queen cannot. This keeps her down in the bottom boxes so all of the brood (baby bees) stay below and the bees keep their honey above, in the honey supers (boxes with medium sized frames).
With the bees calm through the first three nucs, I decided I’d try one of the aggressive hives. After opening up the first to little resistance, I decided to keep going and was able to check all of the hives on my property. Hive left, the second hive that had become more aggressive, had started thinking of swarming due to being too full, so I added a queen excluder and honey super to that as well.
The final hive was my strongest, so I added an excluder and two supers to that hive. Here is the final setup. The green boxes are the honey supers.
Tomorrow I check in on the other Shoreview hives to see if we add another new queen to the mix!