The Mating Sign?

Let me start this blog with a question: What does the “Mating Sign” look like?

All 22 hives at Dr. D’s have bees in them. It has been two weeks since I made my last hive splits. There are lot of good reasons why I was too busy to get out to the apiary sooner but none of them make me feel less guilty or get me any closer to my goals.

I spent Monday and Tuesday night waxing 110 plastic frames. I used up almost all of my wax reserves in the process. So on Wednesday, Noah and I took 11 supers to Dr. D’s.

Only one hive looked like it had a beard and it was the one I suspected would (see pic).

This is the beard 3min after smoke

Most of the hives looked strong, though several did not have any brood (but they did have empty queen cells). After all this time, I can speculate what had happened but I can’t be sure. In one of these hives I found the queen who had two tiny white specs at the end of her tail. I think this might have been “The Mating Sign”. I couldn’t find any good pictures with Google so I’m not sure.

I don’t believe my hives have swarmed, simply because there were still empty frames in each hive. It could simply be that the hives are growing slower than I expected.

Nonetheless, in every hive that lacked brood, we placed a new frame of eggs. If the hive needs a queen, then the bees can convert a young larva. If the queen is there, then the added brood will strengthen the hive.

Since there were 22 hives and I only had enough freshly waxed frames for 11 supers, we divided the frames among the hives where needed. We inspected the first 15 hives closely, however the sun was going down so we simply opened the last 7 and added a super to each (all seven looked healthy but we didn’t search for brood.)

We accomplished all of this in just 1.5 hours. At this rate, it would only take us 8 hours to inspect 100 hives. I also tried out my new bee jacket for Bush Mountain Bees and it worked great – no stings. (You can see how big it is in the picture – I’m fat but that’s not all me in that jacket). Of course Noah was wearing an old cotton jacket and didn’t get stung either, so the bees might have just been in a good mood.

Final Hive Count: 23 Hives

“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” Kin Hubbard

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