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I have three new hives. Two are mail order (Queen Nefertiti and Queen Victoria) and one local from Mason, Michigan (Freddie Mercury of Queen)

 

The New Neighborhood

 

Queen Victoria was a struggle because the workers she was delivered with never released her. After 6 days, all the helpers were dead and Queen Victoria, (God Save Her!) was alive and trapped.  I released her myself and hoped for the best. This is my weakest hive.

 

Dead Helpers In The Queen Box

Queen Nefertiti is doing well and so far had not swarmed. Not the same story for Freddie Mercury. Ten minutes after I added an additional super, she swarmed. She landed 20 feet in the tree right next the hives and about 5 feet from my swarm catcher. They were too high up in that tree for me to get them down easily so it was a disaster. BUT after the swarm which by the way, happened right in front of my eyes, Freddie has  more productivity than the other two hives combined. Could it be she left me and came back?  Let’s hope that’s possible!

 

Swarm Catcher

Freddie Mercury of Queen!

On April 17, 2017 Freddie Mercury of Queen was placed in the hive. On April 20, 2017 she was was released. On April 29, 2017 I noticed bees returning to the hive with legs loaded with pollen. I think it’s going to be a good year. Long live Freddie!

Total hive lose with honey still available

Time to start all over again with the loss of two hives. This one I believe was doomed in the Fall. It wasn’t the cold that killed them, per se but it looks like they lost their Queen in the Fall and just didn’t know what to do to stay warm. If their Queen was living, they would have all huddled around her and rotated through a ball cluster. The fact that there are no signs of eggs, larvae or disease makes me think this is the way the end was inevitable.

I have been a resident of Delta Township, MI. since 1988 and I have never been to a Delta Township Board Meeting. What a better way for my first one to be to support the growth of Honey Bees! Me and my wife Marcia went to a Board meeting seeking more information to revise the current ordinance that allows bees in the township but only in agricultural areas. It’s the reason I have my bees 30 miles away because they are not allowed at my home.

I’m pretty sure the ordinance will be changed to allow bees in the residential areas in the township. I’m absolutely sure there will be restrictions. Hopefully, my first meeting (and I gave my talk during the open comment session!) will influence the board to make the right decision. Save the bees!

 

 

Queen Annie up for the Winter (Oct 2016)

 

January 2017

 

Playing the waiting and wondering game. Waiting for Spring and wondering if my bees are alive. Only time will tell!

Actually, Queen Latifa was gone before these nasty things came in the first place. Wax moths come in and take over. When a hive is weak, there’s nothing the bees can do to fend these things off.

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Wax Moth Larvae

I think I know the pattern of demise for Queen Latifa. She started off big with no problems. I added a super for the expansion. She swarmed anyway. Without a queen, there were no new eggs or larvae. That’s when the yellow jackets came in and robbed the hive of honey and the remaining larvae. The yellow jackets die off in the winter, making it a perfect habitat for the wax moths.

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Wax Moths Between Frames

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Total Hive Destruction By Wax Moths

Next step is to remove all the combs and burn them. Take the frames and freeze them. Start over with a fresh pack of bees in the Spring. Saving the world one bee at a time is exhausting!

Both of my hives have had their struggles. Queen Annie passed or ran off with some other bee. In any event I believe she was replaced with another queen. Queen Latifa may still be around but her hive is not doing well and a lot of her bees are dying. Both hives should only make enough honey to make it through the winter. If you get a hive that is doing really well the first year, you can harvest some honey.

I was able to take a frame of honey from Queen Annie’s replacement. (I haven’t named her yet) Even tho the hive could only spare 2 1/2 cups of honey, it sure is good honey!

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A frame of honey

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Make shift crush and strain method

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pure honey from the comb

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About 2 1/2 cups of honey

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Taste like honey to me!

I tell you! These bees are teaching me a LESSON by GUESSIN! It’s all a guessing game for the new guy. I guessed I lost Queen Annie and I believe I could be right with that one. I couldn’t find any eggs or larvae and at that time, she should have been laying tons. The bees were not as friendly without the old gal around giving them direction. I did find some queen cells so I waited for them to hatch.

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A Single queen cell

I believe the queen cells did hatch because I did find some larvae. Unfortunately, I destroyed some larvae looking for larvae.

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Drone cells from a group of Burr Cells

I learned that since they were at the bottom of the super they are what’s called Burr Cells, most likely holding drone larvae. They were wedged between the layers. There wasn’t anything I could do to keep them except not removing the super. My next thought is maybe some queens did hatch from the queen cells because the bees are more active and I see a lot of drones outside the hive. I have to verify that but I have to guess again; What are all those drones doing outside the hive if they are not looking for a cute little queen to mate with? I’m guessing they are looking for a date!

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A possible mating flight