5.6.2013 Some days you get lucky. Some days you don’t.

I went to my beeyard today thinking that it had been two weeks since I last visited, but a quick check over my last set of notes told me I have been trapped in a time warp and three weeks had actually passed since I took the split off the Lavender hive.  Well, there went any hope of pulling a queen cell or two out with which to requeen the orange hive.  Queen bees are made in about 17 days.  It had been 22.

However, when I opened up the lavender hive I found this.

swarm cell May 4 2013

Those are queen cells baby!  There were five or six of them spread over two frames. This told me two things.  First, the lavender queen was now in the blue hive and second, those clever lavender bees had done their bee thing perfectly and made new queens.  Well, cool.

But wait, it gets cooler.  While I was looking at those queen cells, I noticed that one of them was open.  I had opened the hive during “emergence.”  Somewhere in the hive there was a virgin queen going around killing all the other virgin queens still locked away in their cells.  Murder and mayhem, it happens in a hive.  I didn’t want to intrude, so I just closed up the hive and moved on to the next.

The new blue hive had a three frame bee cluster but they were working all 8 frames in their single super.  There were low on food, so I exchanged a partially drawn empty frame for a frame of honey.  The pink hive had some great brood and should expand quickly once the weather warms up.  There’s still a lot of drone brood in the orange hive, but there is also some worker brood.  I’m not real happy with the orange queen, but I don’t want to set them back any further than I already have by taking a nuc off them.

It’s been a very cool spring but that is about to change, (well, it is if you believe the weather geeks.)  So last week, I spent a good amount of time on the mower, knocking back the fescue in the areas of the farm where I have a lot of clover.  That should let the light down to the clover and give it a chance to get a good blooms.  The tulip poplars haven’t blossomed yet.  Poplar and clover, that’s where most of my honey comes from, but we need warmer weather for such things.  In a moment of pure optimism, I put honey supers on the orange hive and the lavender hives in case I can’t get back to them before the clover comes on.

All in all, the bees are doing exactly what they should be doing, despite all my efforts to screw up their timeline.  I got very lucky with the nucs I made.

I did not get lucky down at the coop.  Mother Sussex managed to lose The One and Only.  The singular  Dorking chick has disappeared.  No carcass.  No signs Mother Sussex put up a fight to keep him.  So I am back to no Dorking chicks. Why are Dorkings so difficult?

Honestly, I was so disgusted and bummed after the loss of the chick that I would have given the whole flock away had anyone accepted them.  No one did.  I am stuck with the little buggers.

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