A bit of delay in posting my findings from the hive opening last Thursday, but the subject does a surprising job covering it.
I was still unable to see the queen in either hive, so I’m thinking about asking a more experienced beekeeper to come open them with me next week, and maybe show what I’m missing.
While I otherwise would have fretted over not seeing the Blue Queen again, there were three frames, front and back, filled with brood in a number of stages (eggs, larvae, capped). They seem to be focused on the upper super for their brood, as well as pollen and sugar-water storage.
There were three supersedure cells this time, in three different locations, rather than just the one. I’m going to trust that the bees know what they’re doing, and let the queen take care of the competition as needed, or let them take care of it themselves. There’s plenty of room in the hive so as not to suggest a swarm situation, but I’ll continue paying attention for other signs of that.
In comparing the two hives, despite my early assumptions I feel like the Silvers may in fact be the healthier of the two. Their storage patterns were much more organized, and their queen has clearly been busy since her release– plenty of larvae at multiple stages, and less sugar-water storage than I anticipated. They also had about three frames mostly dedicated to brood.
They were also much more adept at the propolis-production and sealing of their hive boxes. I felt guilty for breaking in, especially since I didn’t get to spend as much time checking each frame as I did with the Blue hive.
It’s in the Silver hive that I first saw evidence of hive beetles. These are pests that you can expect in any and every colony, but a strong colony is the best defense against their destruction. I’ve only seen evidence of two in the Silver hive (and the first one I crushed mercilessly), but the bees seem to be keeping things in check. I’ll keep an eye on that, however, and may end up buying some beetle traps.
Sat on this post over the holiday weekend, but will go ahead and send it out now, and post about yesterday’s hive activity in a little while. Will be opening the hives again on Saturday for a proper look-through.