Saturday we had two maintenance calls. One in Los Altos and one in Palo Alto.
First in Los Altos. This hive swarmed in March when I was on a business trip to China. They are growing but never moved into the third box as when I added the new box it was raining so I just toss it on there without moving a frame up. So today we harvested a few frames to give them space and moved a frame up to the third box to entice them to move up.
In Palo Alto, this once booming hive has taken a step backwards. When we brought the hive over it was completely packed with bees. Added a second box and they actually built it to 80% full. When I showed up today I noticed something immediately. The bee traffic was much much lower than it should be. Upon inspection we found five still capped queen cells, one emerged. The old queen swarmed with what seems like more than 50% of the colony. But good thing is there are still a good amount in there with brood still emerging from when the original queen laid.
We took a while to inspect each frame today, looking for the new virgin queen that could still be in the hive if she didn’t cause an after-swarm yet. It took twice looking through all 18 frames but finally my dad spotted her. That was good that we found her, then it makes deciding what to do with those other capped queen cells much easier. We cut them out and removed them all. While two queen cells were laying in a container the queens emerged! We put them into queen catchers and brought them home. One is going to be placed in a queenless hive. The other I’ll make a split from a large hive introduce her into that hive after a day of them being made queenless.
So our next steps for the Palo Alto hive will be to give the new queen 1 week to mate. 1 week to start laying. 21 days from new eggs to emerging baby bees. I’ll be back in June after I return from my business trip to hopefully see a lot of new brood and then I’ll be adding a third box.