Monday, April 25, 2011
I checked on the hives this morning, added syrup to the feeders, and checked on the queens. Both queen cages are empty, meaning the workers chewed through the marshmallows that I had plugged the cage holes with, and released each queen into the hives. Here are a few pictures I took this morning. Things have settled down considerably out there.
There are two hives, both facing south, with one on the east end of the platform and the other on the west end. I'm going to refer to the west hive as hive 1 and the east hive as hive 2. The first picture is of hive 1 with the lid off, before I pulled the empty queen cage out from between the frames.
This is an empty queen cage, which I pulled out of the hive. She's somewhere down in the mass of bees clinging to the frames, waiting for the workers to build out the combs so she can start laying eggs. The cage is about three inches long and has a half inch hole on one end.
When I opened the hives, the bees were all over the tops of the frames. When the lid comes off, they instinctively rush to the top of the hive ready to defend it from whatever just took the roof off. Since I needed to get the cages out, I used smoke to drive the bees back down into the frames. here's Li'l Smokey getting fired up and ready to work... I use cedar hamster bedding as the fuel, and newspaper to get it started.