Sunday, March 09, 2014

A First Look Into a Hive

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We had beautiful balmy weather this weekend, so I took the opportunity to look inside our Camelia beehive.  This particular colony was from a swarm I collected last April.  (They were on a bush on Camelia Street in North Berkeley.  I think this is a Spanish spelling, for whatever that's worth.)

These bees are wonderfully docile, and a delight to have in the yard.  They are busy, but never aggressive. 




My goal in opening the hive was to see if the queen was laying eggs, and if there were any indications that the colony might swarm.  I figure there's never a reason to open a beehive, without clear goals.  It's hard work, and disruptive to the bees.

Inside the hive, I saw a nice amount of maturing brood cells, mostly female workers, and a few larger developing drones.  I saw one un-capped cell that could be transformed into a queen-rearing cell, pictured on the bottom of the above photograph.  The cell wasn't particularly large or built-up, so I concluded that it was a "just in case" structure, and not a sign of imminent swarming. 

Since I only spotted a very few male drones, it seemed that the bees weren't in breeding mode.  Because of this, I opted not to split the colony. Doing so, would have meant that one of the split colonies would have been devoid of a fertile egg-laying queen. If the bees in my area aren't raising males yet, there's no point trying to raise a queen, because she'll have no one to mate with, and her colony will fail.

I harvested a single frame of honey, and added another empty box to the hive, and left the bees to get on with their work.








1 comment:

Ayse said...

I split my hive last week because there was a lot of drone brood in there, so there are definitely males around for new queens.

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