Sunday, April 19, 2009

The queens are alive

Despite a nagging headcold -- irritating because we are having such beautiful weather in East Tennessee -- I looked inside the two-week-old hives yesterday and found what I wanted to find: brood cell.

That shows there is a working queen inside each hive.

I was having some doubts. You always worry that a hive is not going to accept a queen. Then, I made a mistake in introducing the queen to one of the hives a couple of weeks (pulled out the wrong cork in the queen cage, and she escaped).

And last weekend I looked inside the hives and didn't see any eggs in either hive.

So, what I saw yesterday was a great relief. Both hives are healthy and full of bees. One hive has even capped some honey. I have been feeding both hives heavily, so the honey can't be harvested, but it shows the bees are working.

I will continue to feed these hives for another week or two and then let them have at the ever-increasing set of flowers and blooms that the spring is offering. My friend John and I are due to get to nuc hives from Coley Odell this week, which will bring my total to four fives and put me about where I was last spring. The difference is that this year, I have lots of drawn comb, so the honey production can begin quickly.

Now, if I can just shed this cold . . .

A final note: Worrying about queen acceptance is common among beekeepers. Take a look at this entry from MissBeek, and the excellent photos that go along with it.


William Savage Collins said...

Feeding both hives? What does one feed to bees?
I never imagined such a thing.

Jim Stovall said...

Yes, Bill, the bees can be fed. They take this syrupy combination of water and sugar. Keeps them going until the hive gets built up and there's food available outside.


Anne said...

Jim: Thanks for your comments on my blog, as well as your encouragement. Now that I've found you (or you've found me), I look forward to following your adventures.