March 31, 2016

Queen Check

Yesterday afternoon I opened Periwinkle and Daylily hives to check on the status of the queens. The weather was warm and mostly sunny, and the bees have been here four days; I needed to see if the queens had been released and remove their cages if that was the case.


First I checked on Periwinkle. You can't tell in the above photo, but the bees are building comb along the top bars; something that Warré beekeepers are always happy to see.  The queen, however, had not yet been released. 


The bees had eaten through the candy and she should have been able to exit the box, except for this.


Two of the attendant bees were dead and one was blocking the entrance. I tried to gently move it out of the way with no success, so I decided to remove the cork from the other end. After I did that I took another look, but the queen was gone. Now I was concerned because I didn't want her lost or squished!

Thankfully I saw her dotted back disappearing under the top bars below, but then I was worried I might kill her when I put the top box on again. The only thing I knew to do was to puff a lot of smoke into the bottom box and then slowly side the top box in place. I reassembled the rest of the hive and then wondered whether or not I still had a queen. As I stood there pondering, the hum in the hive began to crescendo loudly, which I'm hoping means they were welcoming their queen! I'll keep an eye on pollen coming in, which will indicate they are busy feeding brood.

Daylily was busy too.


They are also building comb along the top bars and seem to be a little further along than Periwinkle. I have to say that in general, I see more activity around Daylily than Periwinkle.

The Daylily bees had eaten through the candy on their queen cage too, but she had yet to emerge. No dead attendants, so I just put the cage back for another day or two.

It was interesting that with both hives, I used my bee brush to clear the way for the feeder to be replaced. Periwinkle was very docile about the whole thing, but Daylily did not like it! Is it hive personality? Or did the status of the queen make a difference?


The last thing I did was dismiss my snoopervisor.


He was about worthless anyway.

30 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

I have a couple of fairly docile hives and the next one always looks docile but becomes very agitated when opened I just put it down to hive personality :-)

PioneerPreppy said...

Some are meaner than others and they will change depending on time of year,size and the queens temperament. If a hive is queenless it will buzz loudly but wouldn't happen that fast so more than likely they were reacting to her being among them now.

Farmer Barb said...

If it is not one thing, it's another. So much to learn! Our queen was busy with her brood. Our weird weather has kept them inside a lot, though. Only forsythia and maples with my wild plums in bloom. I will keep checking on your progress!

Quinn said...

I think the kitty is wise. Don't they always say you have you be very calm around bees? ;)

Quinn said...

And thanks for visiting Comptonia and weighing in on my windowbox question, Leigh! I'm getting so much good advice and so many things to think about!

Kris said...

Sooo glad your new hives seem to be settling in. Will keep fingers crossed for the success of both queens. You're really getting the hang of beekeeping, Leigh, and your posts are always interesting and very informative. I didn't know hives could have personality. Looking forward to more updates. :-D

Leigh said...

Interesting that they aren't all equal, isn't it? And the same race of bees too. I'm guessing Daylily will be much more productive in terms of honey this year.

Sandy said...

Leigh,

Your hives are starting to really take off nicely. I hope this continues and you have no issues with these two hives. Love your Snoopervisor, he's had a busy day......siesta time.

Ed said...

Definitely hive personality! Often times when we had a hive that got too aggressive (definitely a judgement call) we would requeen them and that would generally settle things back down.

Leigh said...

I hope so. That's what happened last year when I released the queen, an almost immediate loud hum from the hive filled the air. I still worried but in the end all was well.

Leigh said...

But so interesting and so much fun to learn!

Leigh said...

Can't get much calmer than that. :)

Leigh said...

I just love the blogging community for that. The more minds the better!

Leigh said...

Ha! I don't know about getting the hang of it, but I'm certainly getting some good experience!

Leigh said...

Sandy, me too. It would be nice to have two successful hives after last year's loss.

Leigh said...

I will have to keep that in mind Ed. I can see why having two hives is better than one, because it gives the learner something to compare to. Interesting how much the queen affects the whole colony.

Renee Nefe said...

I guess the silver lining is that you only had one snoopervisor to deal with and he wasn't all that interested. My K9 snoopervisor is starting to become bothersome with her constant need to be where I am.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

While I love to garden caring for bees would make me a nervous wreck!!!! Good luck on your queen bees. I know you will do well with your bees. I guess I will have to stick to buying local! Nancy

kymber said...

i love seeing your bees looking so happy! and if you need 3 more excellent snoopervisors - just let me know and i'll mail them to you. birds land on their heads - ya - it's that bad - bahahahah! congratulations on getting both of your queens out and i look forward to hearing more about the hives!

sending love! your friend,
kymber

lisa leisher said...

Where would one purchase the warre beehives?

1st Man said...

Our surviving hive is kinda cranky too. I hope the new 'neighbors' will be more docile. I'm kinda wondering how the existing hive will interact with the new hive while I'm putting it in. That makes me nervous but they'll figure it out. Yours are looking great. I'm so glad you were able to get your queen freed, I've heard that can be an issue. Thanks for sharing. Good l

Leigh said...

Afterward I saw Katy sitting there watching a bee in the grass. She wasn't sure if she should bat at it or what. I told her "NO!"

Leigh said...

It is easy to feel nervous around bees. At least you can get that honey easily!

Leigh said...

Actually, I have 3 more snoopervisors! And they all accompanied me to the bee yard. Only Riley hung around, but as you can see, he was too busy to go anywhere. :)

Leigh said...

Lisa, I got mine as kits off of eBay. If you google warre beehives you'll find a number of options, from free plans to make your own to beautifully finished full hives. The plans to make your own can be found here.

Leigh said...

I'm thinking that maybe being a little more energetic is a good survivor characteristic. I almost said aggressive, but I don't like to use that word with bees 'cuz it isn't quite accurate. Hopefully they'll stick it out!

Tomorrow should clear up and be sunny, so I'll go back in and make sure Daylily's queen is free too.

G. Robison said...

Hey, no dissing the snoopervisor. He's a handsome boy.

Leigh said...

LOL, he is a very handsome boy. He also has a knack for demanding attention anytime I'm in the middle of something that requires all of my attention (cats!). Taking a nap while I inspected the hives was a very good occupation for him. :)

Seeking Serenity said...

whew! this is so stressful to read! I really hope this goes well... I think your cat has the right idea, i sure could use a nap in the bushes :D

Leigh said...

Well, I was hoping for exciting rather than stressful. Still not sure of what's going on! Tomorrow I'll check on Daylily Queen's progress.