Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Her Majesty Has Returned

The queen is home! Over the last few weeks I have been dealing with queens that moved up into the honey supers to lay their eggs.

Georgia's queen moved up one super, laid some eggs and went back down. I put the queen excluder on her and we have all been happy ever since. Virginia's queen, on the other hand, moved up two supers to start laying eggs. I thought she had moved back down as well so I put the queen excluder on. Last week I discovered that she had laid more eggs in the honey super and that the queen excluder had actually trapped her up there instead of down in the deep hive bodies. As I reported last week, I brushed all the bees in all four honey supers back down in to the deep hive bodies and replaced the queen excluder.

I checked on Virginia's honey supers again today and found plenty of capped brood and some larva. I didn't find any eggs and all the larva was more than a few days old. A good sign! Here is a photo of one of the frames out of that super.
Not a bad brood pattern- just not where I want it to be. There are some larva around the outside edges of the brood. This super was brand new with empty, combless frames when I put it on the hive, so the bees have worked hard to draw comb on all those empty frames.

I did do a quick check down in the upper deep hive body to make sure the queen was down there. I only pulled a few frames and saw lots of larva just one to three days old. That was enough for me and I put the hive back together- I did not want to risk injuring the queen now. No more requeening this year!

As I was putting the supers back on I noticed how heavy they are getting. They are all full of honey (except for the super full of brood) and in the process of being capped. I did the shake test where you hold the frame horizontally and give it a shake. If the contents drip out the honey is not yet ripe; if it stays in you've got honey in that comb. I predict that if we pull the supers off during the first week of September, we should get a lot of good thick ripe honey. Some of the brood in the super might not have emerged by then. If that is the case we will just leave that super in place until they do emerge. We won't be getting any ripe honey out of that super anyway.

We are getting close- I can't wait!


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