I fell behind updating on what was going on with my bees while I was studying.

Once the package was installed my bees began almost immediately to make queen cells. I was certain the first was a supercedure cell. My teacher told me instead since it was at the bottom of the part of the foundation the bees had already drawn it was actually a swarm cell. While I would not usually destroy a swarm cell to prevent the likelihood of the swarm occurring anyway and leaving me without a queen, in this case I destroyed it anyway. It was my belied that they only didn’t like the queen because the hive was out of balance since there were so many old bees and no new brood (since it was a package). However, I really should have trusted the bees. My brood looked like this:

DSC01733-1024x682 (Source) 

All those popped out cells are drones. The average colony should have 10% drones. Mine had way more. Every time the queen lays an egg it is fertilized from her stores which she accumulated on the mating flight. These are therefore haploid eggs. However, every once and a while she lays an egg that is unfertilized that has only her genes. This is diploid, and the result is a drone. My queen was laying more like 30% diploid which means she was likely not well mated.

If I had let them supercede her right of that bat that would ahve been fine (although the laying shadow on top of the age of the bees in the package means I probably should have just requeened with a purchased queen at that time). However, I destroyed the supercedure cell. Queens themselves have been known to do this which I think is what the bees thought was going on since the next cells were more hidden. With 8-12 swarm cells, I decided I needed to split to avoid a swarm. I gave my dad half my bees with the queen and kept the swarm cells.

I thought that the young brood I sent with my dad would like the queen better since they are more likely to be faithful. However, apparently I was wrong because they killed her almost right away. My dad requeened with a nuc and his hive is booming now.

Mine has been slower. The laying shadow was long and so the population never really built up. Since it is too late to get the bees to draw foundation in the fall, I am hoping that the bees just really stuff the bottom box with honey and I will supplement with some candy/pollen for food. Additionally, I plan to put my hive on top of my dads with a double screened board between in order to let the hives share heat. There are not enough stores in either hive to make a merge worthwhile. I will be shocked if this hive makes it through the year. However, the nice thing is that since so many things went wrong I was able to learn so much more during the course of the class. Additionally, since I only have the one hive I can baby it a bit through the winter. I am thinking some cedar chips or a pillow in the top to absorb moisture and some sort of black panelling on the outside to absorb heat, if not actual insulation.

My beekeeping friend’s hive is doing great- she was even able to take some honey in her first year!


Um, yum. Here’s hoping next year my hive focuses less on royal coups and more on making honey.