Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Awww Mr. Abbott What Have You Done With Your Queen?

I want to swear. Two days until I leave for Budapest and Istanbul and Mr. Abbott's Little Bee is misbehaving! All the tell tale signs are there of a queen gone missing. I am trying not to rush to judgment but I have seen this before in a slightly different context.

I am solo this week. Paula is vacationing in Jordan so I have been managing the apiary myself for the past two weeks. No big deal but I miss her input. Two bee geek brains are better than one.

It was a beautiful early morning, the rooster was out. The moon was setting in the west and the sun was rising into a clear blue sky. It was cool and breezy and I had a lot to do! There is a nectar flow on right now and I don't want to miss a drop! Plus I wanted to clean up the bee yard before the Tibetan Monks come down for the Puja in a few weeks.

Our two new hives, Katrina's Drone Den and Colleen's Royal Ruckus were very docile, thank you nectar! Both have beautiful brood nests and both queens have moved up to the second brood box. Their population is good! Nothing was drawn out in their supers but I went ahead and added second supers to each. Between the warm weather and the nectar flow they could build out quickly. I saw a brilliant orange pollen coming in as well. Its nice to see something other than the dandelion pollen. I was really pleased with what I found.

Moving on  to Mr. Abbott's Little Bee, you may remember this is our divide from The Turquoise Bee with a healthy new queen. I have been a little worried about this hive as population has not been great but last week it seemed to have perked up a bit. I noticed a slight improvement in the colony population and mediocre brood and spotted the queen. One week later and the little buggers are hissing and agitated, the brood pattern is very spotty and I didn't see the Queen. I didn't look too hard for her. One of hardest lessons in this endeavor is listening to the bees and letting them dictate the work. As long as they are willing to let me poke my head around fine but not today. They were just too pissey for words. I looked through about four frames, took notice of the constant hiss and spotty brood pattern and closed up the hive. I am not sure what to do. It is possible there has been a recent hatch but I am guarded! More than likely I will go back on Thursday and see if I can do a better inspection and really look for The Yellow Lady.  Otherwise Paula is simply going to have to deal with them when she gets back.

The Turquoise Bee and Crazy Comb are both doing well. Beautiful brood in all the brood boxes and I caught a glimpse of Snow White in The Turquoise Bee. She also has one supper that is completely drawn out so I threw on another box. Crazy Comb isn't drawing out in the super box yet but I added a second one on her as well for good measure.

It took close to two hours to get my work done and two complete burns in the smoker which is on its last leg. I am going to have to replace the smoker soon. When I was done I stood admiring the bee yard wishing I had a chair to pull up and just watch the activity. It was such a beautiful day and outside the disappointment of Mr. Abbott's Little Bee I was feeling happy. We are much further along this year than any other year so the honey whore is hopeful! Unless I go back on Thursday for another look at Mr. Abbott's Little Bee I won't see the bees until we have the puja the end of June.


Patty said...

Is it the smoker or the bellows? It is very easy and cheap to replace the bellows. Cheaper than a new smoker. P

sweetpea said...

Patty, we can't really get the smoker lid on anymore so smoke pours out around the rim, occasionally a flame shoots out when we first light it. It is just caked with soot. To be sure we mostly use the smoker because we like the smell of the smoke and it makes me feel like a beekeeper and all. I am not convinced it does a darn thing to the bees. It may well mix up their pheromone recognition but I am not sure how that benefits the beekeeper. I don't notice them heading for the bottom of the hive . . .

GF Gidget said...

Awesome! Well... except for poor Mr. Abbott, but really, what can you expect from a man?! ;)