Second Hive Inspection – Found the Queen!

Well, a couple weeks had passed, so we decided to take another peak and see what they were up to, and the first thing we saw was honey!

It may not look like it, but that white patch in the corner is actually honey capped over by wax. They only cap it when it’s been converted from nectar to honey.

We also managed to spot the queen, which is always exciting, because it’s a bit like a “Where’s Waldo” situation.

If you still aren’t sure which one, she’s centre-right in the image above. You can tell it’s the queen by the longer abdomen, she doesn’t have hair (or at least as much) as the other girls making her appear more amber than yellow-striped, and her thorax is very black, again, due to the lack of hair. Some people place a dot of paint on the queen’s thorax to make her easier to spot, but I’m told if you do it wrong, you can end up killing her, or the hive might kill her. So, we thought best not to risk it.

The next thing we saw was capped brood.

Picture of bees and capped brood

That’s always exciting, because it means the colony will be growing it’s numbers. Each cell that’s capped over will be a new bee in a couple of weeks. You can also see eggs in the cells to the lower left that haven’t been capped over yet.

Here’s a frame showing capped brood as well as capped honey, for comparison. As we went through the hive, we found more and more frame with brood. This frame in particular (below) was quite full of baby bees.

So, this hive was ready to explode in population. At the height of production, a queen can lay 2,000 eggs a day – more than her weight in eggs each day. In fact, she has to be constantly fed by a retinue of worker bees to keep her going. As long as there are cells to lay in, she will just keep going. So, the workers have to keep up with making sure there are places to lay eggs, which they had been doing:

Here’s an entire frame of brand new, white comb. They’re still working on it in this picture, but soon it will be ready for eggs as well.

By now, we’re getting more comfortable being around bees. I gave up one wearing long sleeves, or tucking my pants into my socks. We mostly gave up on the veils as well, it’s just too hot.

Plus, our bees seem very docile, so it’s been going pretty well.

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