A Tale of Three Hives
SO it is year three and I have three hives.
I bought two hives this year (2011) and the other hive has been around since it swarmed and I caught it 2 years ago.
The two hives I bought this year are in polar opposite situations. One hive is in the shade of fir tree and it has fewer bees than the other two hives…the other hive is in the most sun and it is absolutely FULL of bees and the queen is laying in a great pattern.
The hive with the fewest bees had so few bees that I checked to see if there was a queen. I discovered that it had no queen and no brood BUT it did have a queen cell. So I am going to experiment and see if this queen will will work out. I discovered it Sunday the 17th of July and when I re-checked it this weekend (24th) it had not emerged. Queens take 16 days from hatching to emerging from the cell.
The third hive is the oldest hive and has an old queen. The laying pattern is sporadic and uneven so I know I need to replace her. I think I will do it this fall when I (probably) will replace the queen in the hive that is about to hatch.
SEPTEMBER 18th 2011
I just erased this whole entry detailing what has taken place with the hives since I last wrote and I do not want to recreate it so this will be a synopsis.
I bought 2 queens from Sherry at Pendell Apiarys out of California ph: (503) 963-3062.
They ship the queens on Tuesdays and mine arrived on Friday. By the time I got to the farm the queen that had not emerged yet was out, had mated and was laying eggs so I decided to leave her alone.
The other queen who was laying sporadically could not be found so I just released the new queen into the hive (in the traditional way) and she eventually won the ensuing fight and is doing great.
There was a lot of honey in August but some frames were not completely capped so I decided to wait to harvest but when I went to harvest this last weekend there was very little honey to harvested! I am not sure if they ate it or what but there does not even seem to be enough to ge them through the winter let alone left over for me. I was able to get about half a super of honey and might be able to get a little more in the next week…but we shall see…I am glad I don’t have to make my living off honey sales!