Wa-a-ay back in June we introduced the new queen Flora. We
were so proud and happy.
And then, a month later, our hopes were dashed. We opened
Flora, expecting a booming hive and found nothing. No sign at all that we had a
mated queen. Sure, there were bees working away, but where were all the eggs, larvae, and capped brood? All we could find were cells half full of honey.
Our mentors all suggested finding a queen-right swarm (a
swarm of bees with their queen) and combining them with our now queenless hive.
About two weeks after our discovery, Doug Smith, beekeeper with the Santa Clara Valley
Beekeepers Guild (check out their blog here),
let us know he was was cutting out a hive that had been living in a
garage wall for the last six months. Did we want it?
Indeed we did! Doug graciously put those garage bees into one of our empty bee boxes, along with their garage queen and some comb
filled with larvae and brood. Then in the evening, when all of the foragers had finally come home for the night,
one of our favorite blog readers, Tina K. (Rescuer of Nugget) wrapped the whole
package up nice and neat so we could take it back to Sunset that night.
The next day we opened up Flora so that we could combine
new hive and old hive, and what did we find?
The hive was bursting with brood! Queen Flora had laid eggs
out to the edges of the frames, even taking over territory usually reserved for
a ring of honey (that’s why Kimberley is smiling in the photo at the top of this post). Now the hive is full of bees, and every afternoon at 2, a cloud of young bees hovers at the entrance as they take their orientation flights.
Unfortunately, our old friends, the varroa mites, seem to be multiplying (see the little red bumps on the backs of the bees in the red circles?).
And we have this completely unrelated box full
of swarm bees that we are adopting (that’s the new hive, on top of the blue box that houses Flora. We have to make an ant-proof stand for her).
We’ll need a name for the new hive. Readers, any suggestions?