Beth, my beekeeper apprentice

With a busy two weeks of work, travel and hound fundraising ahead of us, and nearly a week of laryngitis behind me, I needed to squeeze in a run to the bee-yard. After work, and after a quick bite to eat, we packed up the 2500HD and headed up to the bee-yard.

Beth, the woman who owns the property the hives are located on, has been wanting to dig in a bit more. She has shadowed me from a distance since the installation of the bees. She decided to put a suit on this time, and get into the hives with me.

Over all, the hives are doing well. All of the Carniolans are living up to the abilities to lay down wax hard and fast. Of the six Carniolans, we rotated frames from the center out toward the edges in roughly ½ of the hives. The queens were laying eggs and larvae could be seen quite well against the black foundation.

The one sour note of the evening was hive #2 – one of the Russian queened hives. There was little activity in the access area from the hive into the feed-box. This was somewhat alarming because all of the other hives’ feed-box accesses were choked with bees coming to get a sip of syrup. Lifting the feed-box off revealed an empty hive. There were dead workers on the bottom, but those were from originally emptying the package into the hive. No queen, either – we easily found the marked Russian queen in hive #1.

Carniolan larvae with workers on comb
Carniolan Larvae with Workers on Comb

There are questions, of course. Why did the hive empty out? Why would a hive leave a place where there is 2.&half gallons of food sitting on their roof? Honestly, I do not know. The queen may have had a bit of wanderlust, or a parameter within the hive was slightly incorrect — too drafty.

I have one more package of Italians with a Russian queen arriving on Monday or Tuesday of this coming week (May 9 or 10). The plan is to install this package at the bee-yard instead of here at the house. There are a few things that I am going to do this go-around.

  • Move Hive #2 to far end of the line of hives
  • Turn the entrance to face opposite of the others
  • Restrict the entrance to just one or two holes with the adjustable entrance reducer