I have been anxious about my hive since I noticed a queen cell in late March. The spotty brood pattern I found last weekend confirmed that I must have had a swarm.
Today I found 3 drawn combs nearly completely full of capped brood and larva! (There are 13 bars of drawn-out comb in all.) The bees were putting up sugar syrup and had started capping some honey near the top on several bars. I am still feeding sugar syrup until they are well established since I had such a slow start last year and a cold (for south-central Texas) winter. Comb is being drawn out on both of the bars I inserted in late March. Everything looks peachy! See Beeladee: Spring Inspection
I am continuing to use my phone's voice recorder to take notes while I inspect my hive. I later transcribe them into a journal. I went to my phone settings and changed the "touch sensitivity" to high. I then can activate the voice recorder with my gloves on! With this procedure, I am able to take detailed notes about each bar in the hive. The phone I am using is a Nokia Lumia that runs Window's 8.0. I'm not savvy on other phone operating systems, but I'm sure most must have something similar if you look around and experiment.
The decision to leave the queen cell and allow the swarm turned out to be a positive one. My new queen seems to be a great layer! I am still working on plans to make another top-bar hive, hoping to have it in place by summer so I can take advantage of any future swam/queen cell situations. This will be late for this bee season, but it is the best I can do at the end of the school year.
Below are pictures to illustrate my note-taking system. It is just one way to keep up with hive information. I also included a couple of pictures from my inspection as well as one of the beautiful spring flowers!
|After I open a note, I can choose the microphone icon to start recording notes during hive inspection. |
|I then transcribe my notes into my Bee Journal.|
|New queen is laying well. Those cells that are not already filled with capped brood have larva!|
|Close up of comb: bees are attending to the larva and a drone is hanging around hoping for some nectar!|
|Wildflowers blooming by the road!|