Thank you Freddie Mercury of Queen/ Queen Freddie, for being the only hive to produce any kind of honey this year.
Just enough to bee creative and leave enough for Freddie to make it through the Winter!
This is Queen Angela. I don’t know what happened to her. In my previous posts, Queen Angela was a captured swarm, my first one.
This was a pretty large swarm, I thought. Talking to the experts I’ve learned a few things could have gone wrong. Queen Angela, since she is prone to swarm, may have swarmed again. She could be a virgin queen and not laying fertile eggs. I don’t think that’s the cause because a bee was laying eggs when I placed the frames in the new hive. She could have died off or been eaten during a mating flight. Whatever the cause, this is the result. Weakly populated frames:
Another suggested cause is these plastic frames, Black in color. I tried these because the Black background makes it easier to see the eggs. I just don’t think they like the plastic. My next move is to (try) combine Queen Angela’s hive with Queen Victoria. God save her!
Meet Queen Angela, named after my oldest sister. That’s her. On the end furthest away. The one with the least amount of bees. Mean. Just like my sister. Queen Angela!
Ordinance NO. 17-96
Delta TWP Chicken Raising and Beekeeping ordinance passed 6-0! Beekeeping is allowed in residential areas with some minor restrictions to the number of hives allowed. Looks like I can have 2-4 hives. Last year, I spoke at the meeting in favor of the ordinance. I already have my hive trap in place!
A Nuc box is box that hold a nucleus colony, like a queen and about 1000 bees. Beekeepers use these for catching swarms or removing extra bees from an overcrowded colony. I don’t have extra bees in my hives but I did recently catch a swarm. If I catch another one, I’ll use this Nuc to hold the swarm to either replace a weak hive ( I have one of those) or start over. Besides, Nucs look really cool and a lot easier to make than a full hive. I painted mine today. Five frames ready to go!
After two unsuccessful attempts to capture a swarm of bees with a swarm trap, I think I finally got one!:
I have three new hives. Two are mail order (Queen Nefertiti and Queen Victoria) and one local from Mason, Michigan (Freddie Mercury of Queen)
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.
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!
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!
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.