May 13, 2010
We have a queen! Charlie and I went into the new hive today, and we were so excited to see beautiful worker brood (female capped larva). If you click on the image to see a close-up, you can also see the uncapped larva. The worker brood that we put into the hive when we installed the swarm would have hatched yesterday at the latest. So, all of the worker brood that we saw today was from a functioning queen. Wonderful news.
My colonies made from swarms have not always done this well- and it’s still too soon to be too confident. But, I’ll take the good news.
So, what does it look like if the hive isn’t doing well? There would be a dwindling population of bees. There is often also a good deal of drone (male bee) brood. Drones are made from unfertilized eggs. They can be laid selectively by the queen. But, when a hive is not queen-right, worker bees will start to lay eggs. The eggs are not fertile, so all of these eggs produce drones. You’ll remember that drones’ only function is mating- they contribute nothing to the maintenance of the hive. If you have laying workers in your hive, without swift intervention, the hive will die. Indeed, even with swift intervention, you may lose your colony.
So, hive three is doing well thus far. They took all of the sugar syrup that I fed them. They also took a good deal of the capped honey I had put in there. I will continue to feed them to help them draw out comb. Within a month, I should be able to stop feeding them. Again, I want them to draw out comb so that they’ll have a place to store honey, and so that the queen will have a place to lay eggs.