I have been hopeful and optimistic about our bees through the past two weeks which doled out two plus snow storms, a lot of rain, freezing cold nights and not a speck of sun shine. Today, I am a little worried, still hopeful but a little guarded.
Paula and I went to check on the girls today. We spotted all three queens which is always renders pure joy and a little relief. Four years ago I would have been satisfied by simply seeing her but now, well now I want evidence that she is healthy and laying well.
Patrick's Pollinator seems to be doing well although we didn't see the queen our first time through the box. We saw eggs and we saw spotty capped brood but we couldn't find her. And then, I dropped a framed, frame from the brood nest packed with bees. It was likely a frame she would be on. I was trying to manuver the frame while holding my hive tool. I know better! Slightly worried I looked around the hive carefully trying to spot her and when I was satisfied she wasn't on the ground we closed up the hive.
We moved on to Katrina's Drone Den. You can follow along with our hive inspection in the video. We located the queen, eggs and spotty capped brood. I would have liked to see a better stronger brood pattern but the population seemed healthy and the queen looked good.
The Turquoise Bee has us worried. While we found our queen she seemed a little, well, off. She wasn't on a frame with many other bees and the only brood we saw was drone brood. I have never seen a drone laying queen but I am worried we might have one on our hands. We need to keep our eye on this queen and group of girls closely and if things don't turn around in the next week we will need to re-queen these girls.
Once we were done I decided to go back into Patrick's Pollinator. I didn't feel good leaving without seeing her Queen. As soon as we opened up the hive Paula found her on the inside of the top cover. Not a place I like to see a queen but at least she was there.
The girls are not taking any syrup which is just fine, they have honey to eat, and they are taking very little of the pollen patties. We do have some pollen stores in all three of the hives but I'd like to see them taking a little more protein. I did look back at our record keeping from last year and as it turns out it was between the second and third week that we reported good brood patterns in the hives. So, I am keeping my fingers crossed. Warmer weather is on the way which I am hoping is going to kick start the queens. Hopefully the next time we visit all three hive will have beautiful, consistent brood patters and all will be well. Our fourth package comes next Wednesday which is when we will get Colleen's Royal Ruckus up and running.