Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Beeladee: Spring Inspection 4/14/15

I went into my hive in March for a quick inspection. The hive was still full of bees, but the queen was laying in a very spotty pattern. The brood was spread over several combs instead of in a tight cluster. I also noticed several dark combs that needed to be culled out.

I went back in for a more complete inspection on April 14th. I saw larvae, capped brood and a few pupae, although they were quite sparse. I did not find the queen, but saw there were several very young larvae, so she had to be present.

During the past two inspections I noticed empty queen cells. Each time I crushed them so in future inspections, I could distinguish whether there were new queen cells or the same ones I had already noted. I am hoping the hive will requeen itself. I would think that most any queen would be better than the one that is there!

Both times I inspected I noticed one very small black beetle. I panicked thinking it might be small hive beetles. After reading up on this, I think the beetles I found were much too small to be small hive beetles. I will keep a close watch for more in future inspections.

I also saw a wax moth larva in the last inspection. This is a sign I need to get that old, dark wax out, as that is what the wax moths are after.

During the last inspection I spread the new comb throughout the hive and started moving the dark comb to the back. I will wait until all the brood are hatched, then remove the dark comb. 

I will need to open the hive at least once a week for the next few weeks until I see evidence of a stable queen. If the hive will not requeen itself, then I will order a new queen. I would prefer a wild queen for genetic diversity. My last two queens have come from swarming and natural requeening.

For a description of my note taking process see Beeladee: Hive Inspection 5/3/14

Photo by Bethany Henderson