With today’s one nice day bookended by weeks of rain, I used the opportunity to open hive #2 & give them more room by adding a few empty bars. In hindsight, I probably should have given them a few more, but I can do that next week.
After scooting a few bars over, I moved on to hive #1 to check out the wacky-looking comb in the back. It was definitely a little weird, but I decided not to mess with it quite yet. What I did notice was that the bees had built about 5 queen cells on it. They did not have larvae in them, however. Hmmmm…. I started through the hive, bar by bar, finding empty comb. Some had honey at the top; a few had some spots of pollen. None of them had any brood. Zero. Which means when they swarmed the second time, they didn’t leave any larvae for the bees to rear a new queen. Which means that the hive will have no new workers born and is destined to die out in a matter of weeks…..
But here’s where having a second hive comes in handy! I went back to hive #2, removed a bar that had open brood (i.e. uncapped eggs &/or larvae) and put it in hive #1. Now they have some larvae that they can feed royal jelly and, hopefully, raise a new queen. Later I read that you should really use comb with eggs (rather than just larvae), so I might have to give them another bar next week if they don’t show signs of making queen cells. We will keep our fingers crossed that this jump starts them.
In happier news, I received a cd in the mail today from Timothy Sellers & his band Artichoke! Timothy is going to be performing at the beekeeping conference I’m attending in July and was kind enough to send a copy of their Bees album to conference attendees. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it, yet, but Los Angeles Weekly had this to say: “Artichoke makes music for kids and drunks. Poppy melodies and seemingly innocent lyrics about bees and scientists and your neighborhood (Highland Park in their case), but which take on a darker subtext the older and more jaded you get.” Well, now, how can you resist a review like that? 🙂 You can take a listen on their website or through links from their Facebook page.