I was late with my initial hive inspection (the end of March) because of the continued weather fluctuations. By the time I opened the hive, it was quite crowded. I inserted a couple of empty bars, being careful not to break up the brood chamber. Sure enough we had a few more freezes before spring was here to stay.
During that first inspection I noticed a queen cell. This would have been a perfect opportunity for a split, but I had no empty hive in which to move the bar with the developing queen. I had to decide if I wanted let nature take its course and allow a swarm, or control the swarm tendency by removing and killing the developing queen. After a couple of day's consideration, I chose the hands-off approach to wait and see what happened naturally.
Today I inspected again. The original queen cell is vacant and I did not see any new queen cells. I think the original queen did swarm as the current laying pattern is not well established as it had been in late March. But I did see larva, so there is a queen in there somewhere!
I have been keeping a paper journal for both my bees and my garden. When I inspect the hive, I take notes using voice command on my cell phone. I then transcribe my notes into my journal once I finish the inspection. By noting the bar numbers I can see changes over time.
I have begun working on another top-bar hive and hope to have it finished by early summer. I will then wait and capture a swarm or split my existing hive. Either way I hope to BEE ready when the next opportunity comes buzzing!
|My Bee Journal |
|Close up of notes about what is present on each bar with comb|