It’s the season to streamline my bee yard. This colony failed to requeen itself after a split, so I combined it with a queenright nuc made from a spring split. I used the newspaper method with a purchased nuc introduction board between the nuc and the established colony. (Save yourself some money and a little disappointment and cut one out of 1/4″ plywood). I will check it in a few days to see that the bottom colony has accepted the new queen. With any luck, they’ll be a strong, united colony for fall.
This colony was not so lucky. Its queen either mated poorly or not at all and became a drone layer. Because the eggs were laid singly and in the center of both worker and drone cells, I concluded they were laid by a queen and not a laying worker. A queen cell from earlier in the season can be seen at the lower center of the frame, with drone cells to the right. Curiously, a sister colony in the same yard mated well and is developing nicely, so poor weather was not likely the culprit. This handful of bees was shooed out and will hopefully be able to beg a new home at their sisters’ hive.
I inspected a 2nd-year hive that swarmed in late May. It’s doing great–dense capped brood, eggs, larvae. Mite count is low. Not much honey though. Only 1 full western and some frames of honey in the brood boxes. Not a huge number of bees, though it looked like a big bunch of new bees orienting. I won’t be taking honey off this hive.
Rebecca, it sounds like you have a very successful first year hive. Low mite counts and enough honey to winter on are enviable, especially in this dry year. Good job!
I take my coffee out to the bee garden in the morning and the last couple of days I have noticed this giant fuzzy scary looking bee with it’s head in the flowers, mostly verbena and the buddleia (sp?), I guess it likes tall purple flowers. I wonder if it is a threat to my honey bees, or do I have to plant a bigger/ or different bee garden? I’ve been trying this year to plant perennial flowers in pots around my hives. But I hardly ever see honey bees, lots of butterflies, hummingbirds, wasps, flies, frogs, snails and lots of bugs, the honey bees fly out of the garden and come back to their hives with pollen sacs full, but I don’t know where they go to get the pollen.
Brenda, I would sit back and enjoy your coffee and the native pollinators your garden is attracting. You are doing a service to some seriously underappreciated and very valuable creatures. If your bees are coming back with forage, you are doing well. I planted lavender for my honey bees last year and have found them almost exclusively visited by bumblebees while my bees are busy with the knapweed blooming rampantly in a nearby field. Your garden sounds like a great place to be!