Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Start of a New Generation

Today was The Big Check Up, the one-week-out first chance to look around inside the hive, actually pull out frames, and otherwise determine if things are going as they should.

The things to look for are:

  • Is comb being drawn?

  • Are eggs being laid?

  • Does the pattern of stuff – nectar, pollen, brood laying – look the way it should?

These things are, of course, in addition to my favorites:

  • Are any bees still in there?

  • Which feeder bay did all that leaking?

  • Did something else get messed up?

Judging from what was demonstrated on the class field day, my bees are not, shall we say, rocket scientists: while Colony 2 seems faster than Colony 1, neither one shows the kind of brood size that the demonstrator hives did. I do not know if they started from drawn comb though (which would give them a major head start over the girls upstairs, since they had to start from bare foundation).

But let's chuck all that aside for the good news: There Are New Bees In Progress!

One of the photos snapped of a Colony 2 frame during the work clearly shows both larvae and newly laid eggs! Rock on Queen 2! We have ourselves One Big Happy. The photo link here can show you what this all looks like. To us, it is just incredibly cool.

Colony 1 would not be the Colony 1 we have come to know and wonder about if it had not left things a bit more ambiguous. On the plus side, for the first time Colony 1 was absolutely busting out with bee activity at both entrances. On the minus, it had not even half the drawn comb of Colony 2.

However, in snapping pictures of the frames, I may have caught a picture of Queen 1 laying (it's also linked to the photo page). It's not for sure, so my master beekeeper friends just got emailed copies of the picture for comment. We'll see what they have to say!

After taking a look, putting in more syrup, and closing back up, there's not much more for me to do than to watch (anxiously) for two weeks, and maybe clean some of the sugar syrup off the camera (it's unbelievably hard to take pictures while gloved, veiled, sticky, and trying to crouch out of view of the neighbors.) The fact that there is anything to show you at all is a tribute to Nikon. Rock on CoolPix 5000!

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