Yesterday’s inspection of the yellow hive (the swarm I caught from the previous week) was productive. While showing some friends, Kari and Kelly, what it’s like to open up a beehive, Kari immediately spotted the queen. She was a golden yellow with faint black stripes, and her abdomen was very large – she was absolutely beautiful as she waltzed across the freshly pulled comb her workers had produced for her all week.
Because the opportunity cropped up, I decided to mark the queen. This year’s marker color is green, and although this particular queen is actually very easy to spot amongst the other bees (or at least right now she is), I fully intend to keep track of whether she winters-over with the hive this coming winter or if the bees decide to replace her at some point throughout the year. The green mark I put on her back will be my indication of either of the two scenarios occur – if she over-winters, then I should see the green on her back next year; if she gets replaced, then when I do my inspections I will notice a queen without a mark. Additionally, if this hive decides to swarm again, and IF I’m not lucky enough to catch them, at least maybe somebody will be able to see that it is a queen from 2014.
With all the excitement of finding the swarm queen, I was also pleased that 8 out of 10 frames of the hive had been pulled already. That’s a quick timeframe, but, then again, swarms usually pull wax very quickly – the bees come well-equipped with the tools to build their new home when they decide to swarm. On the second frame I took out of the hive, not only were there eggs, but there were larvae! I added the second story box to the hive to give them more room even though they had not yet filled 80% of the frames yet (there are just so many bees in there, I didn’t want them to feel crowded – again!) and then closed up the hive.
So – Woohoo! My queen is getting right to work and this hive is off to a great start. Whatta good girl!