Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ballet, bees, and busy-ness

It's been a busy, busy 2 weeks filled with rehearsals for Eliza's ballet company's spring performance, and at times I've felt like a worker bee taking on all roles at the same time - nurse bee, forager, guard, queen attendant. You name it and I've done in the past 14 days!

So . . . time to get caught back up to date on what's happening in the beeyard. When I posted last time, both blue and green hives had been re-queened with queens I bought from Bob L. down the road. I checked them a week later and both had been released from their cages, so I took Bob J.'s advice to "leave those bees alone" and closed up the boxes to let them get down to business.

Yesterday I checked again, frame by frame. Blue is still going slowly and has fewer bees than the other 2, but I did see a few young larvae and some capped brood on one frame. The curious thing was that I did NOT see the new marked queen, and I heard a sound I've read about in my bees books - "piping." At first I thought I was hearing a bird off in the distance, but when I put my ear a little closer I realized it was coming from a bee! Just a small, but strong little "toot" about every 2 seconds. From what I've read this is sometimes a sound made by a virgin or young queen. I'm just guessing here (as I always seem to be doing!) but I'm thinking that Bob and I must have missed a queen cell when we requeened, and that my purchased queen was bumped off by one that this hive produced. Interesting, since one of the new ballet pieces for the performance tonight is called "The Queen's Game" and involves an evil queen who likes to do away with her subjects. Hmmmm . . . . Anyway - whoever the new queen is, I'm glad to see that she's laying eggs and doing her job!

Green hive is doing well too, with lots of new eggs and larvae and capped brood on several frames. I actually spotted the marked queen, which was exciting since I've never managed to find her before! There's still not much happening in the honey super, so today I removed the queen excluder. We'll see whether this encourages them to move "upstairs" and get down to the business of storing honey while there are plenty of things blooming in the area.

Yellow hive, which was my captured swarm, continues to lead the pack. It's literally bursting with bees, hundreds of which are hanging out on the outside of the hive during the days and up until dark. I removed the excluder from this one too to give them a bit more room. This one too have plenty of everything - eggs, larvae, capped brood, honey, and pollen. If they do decide to make honey in the super, they'll probably need it all to keep this large group going during the winter. But that's OK with me. I can always go to the store and buy honey, but they can't.

All in all, things are buzzing right along! Stay tuned for more updates, and "merde" to all the beautiful ballet dancers for tonight's performance!!


  1. Piping..loving all these new terms. Seriously Bee's are so divine! I'm proud of you!

  2. Thanks Becky! And they really are divine! We humans could learn a lot about life from watching how they work together.