Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Things Are Better (and a Hive Update)

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for the lovely comments, phone calls, and emails. Things in Sonja-Land are doing much better. My neck didn't swell much (hardly at all, in comparison to my hand. Hooray!) and my hand is almost back to normal. Benedryl is my new favorite friend.

As for the bees, our Blue Moon Hive is doing beautifully. Our Mud Honey Hive? Not so much. We opened her up the other day and discovered lots of capped queen brood. According to Beekeeping for Dummies, our horribly-titled go-to resource, our hive was planning to swarm (aka leave. which is bad news) and replace their queen. Double whammy. What's more, we found only a few spotty patches of new eggs and massive numbers of capped drone brood.

Yesterday we opened up the hive and spent a good 45 minutes destroying the queen brood and hunting for our current queen. We had acquired a replacement queen from Trees 'n Bees but we couldn't put her in the hive until we had destroyed the old queen. But we couldn't find the old queen. In the end, we put everything back together and hoped that our new queen made it through the night in her little cage.

So, we're at a bit of a crossroads and not exactly sure how we're going to proceed. It's possible that our old queen has died and that our worker bees are laying dummy eggs. This would be bad. Or perhaps we're lousy at spotting our queen. Any experienced beekeepers out there? We'd appreciate some advice!



  1. I am happy that at least your hand is going back to normal and one hive is doing well. Sorry about your other hive. They swarmed at PSC, not much you can do. I wish you luck!

  2. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Did you happen to take pictures of your Queen cells? Where were they located on the frame, on the bottom or higher up?

  3. At the crucial moments, I always forget my camera. Queen cells were located in both the upp and lower thirds of the foundations. According to Beekeeping for Dummies, that means that they'd like to a) swarm and b) requeen. I noticed today that our queen has a spotty laying pattern so I'm not surprised that they'd want to off her. We're trying a bit of a risky experiment: requeening, despite the fact that we may or may not have a queen and/or laying workers. We've put the queen in her own large cell over emerging brood in the hopes that she'll convert those newbies over to her side and that it will convince the others in the hive to follow suit. As I said, it's risky. We'll monitor in a week. If the regular hive bees are acting agressive, then we can withdraw her cage and try another tactic.

  4. So glad you're feeling better! I can't imagine trying to get things done. :( Best of luck with your hive!!! Hopefully the bees don't start a revolution after you try re-queening.