Queenless Hives

A nice afternoon allowed us to check the hives again today. Our focus today were on the queenless hives and the weaker hives, and seeing if they are the right candidates for a combine.

The worker bees really surrounded this queen cell so it made it hard to take a picture.

The Castle Hive – This was a swarm we brought home in a cardboard box where the queen was crushed between the inner cardboard flap and bottom when she crawled under to hide. We provided this hive with three frames of resources. Today’s inspected showed as many as six queen cells, one opened and five capped. We checked all frames carefully for a virgin queen but wasn’t able to spot her. Perhaps that opened queen cell was a failure or the virgin queen was too small for us to easily find her. Now there are 5 more capped queen cells. We’ll see what happens here. Once the first queen is spotted, the other queen cells will be moved to the other queenless hives.

The Cervantes-4 Hive – This was the smallest of the three swarms that we captured on the day of a cutout, where we caught a total of 3 swarms with 3 queens and one queen in the cutout. We merged some bees from a Cupertino swarm capture that was queenless and so small that it needed to be combined. The combined wasn’t successful and it appears the queen absconded with her troops. Right now the remaining bees are just in there doing their own thing, collecting honey and nothing else, not even building new comb. Soon I’ll either merge them with Cervantes-3 or give them a frame of eggs and young larvae.

The Pine Hive – Just hived not long ago from a huge Oak tree colony, we obviously didn’t get the queen but we did save a good queen cell. Today we saw the queen cell all chewed up. Not sure if the queen emerged or the bees just decided to tear that cell apart. We did spot another emergency queen cell they created but unsure at what stage that one is at. We will be looking again in another week to see if we can find a new queen. If not we’ll provide this colony with a frame of eggs from a stronger hive.

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