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The Royal Lady Found

Hive 1 : The Geronimo Hive
Queen: Found (unmarked, new queen)
Brood: 5 to 6 frames of brood
Queen Cell: Found (could be old or new)
Drones: Flying now, only a few about (maybe a dozen or so)
Drone Cells: In the corners and thereabouts
Hive Components: One frame, an original from Tom Fifer, on verge of needing repair
Actions: Switched entrance reducer to the larger opening

The inspection today was the most frustrating inspection that I recall. My primary goal today was to change the entrance reducer to the larger opening. I also wanted to check for possible swarming activity. My last check was 15 days ago, so they should not have been able to raise a queen unless I missed the queen cell on my last inspection.

To begin with, the bees are filling up the top deep. The last inspection had 2 frames of capped honey. This inspection had 4 full frames and several that were partially capped. The bees are using everything but the outermost frames and even some of them are getting a little use. Nectar is being cured and honey being stored. This meant it was super time.

When I got to the bottom deep, I went to work inspecting them one frame at a time. There was still a lot of capped brood, but there were also a frickin ton of bees. A couple of them became a bit grumpy, but no one stung me. I wore shorts and my bee jacket & veil, with gloves, as I seem to be a bit more nervous then I was last year. One frame was trying to come apart (as it did on my last inspection), so I swapped it with a couple of other frames, moving it out a bit from the center. It had brood in it, but I need to move this one towards the outside so that I can hopefully replace it.

About 5 frames in, I came across a queen cell. It was like a small volcano with a hole in it. I marked this frame towards the outside (North side of the hive) and kept going with the inspection. At this point, I was a little excited. I was thinking that I would do my first split this year after all and put those new Nuc’s to work! Regardless, I needed to see if they were building other queens. I also decided that I needed to find my queen this time. I had seem some larvae, but no eggs. Plus, I was going to have to locate her when I did the split, so this was where the rubber met the road. Much to my chagrin, I did find her. But, it wasn’t the queen I started with. This one did not have a bit of paint on her.

Now, my dilemma. I have not really seen the queen in this hive since last Summer. Did they swarm last year and I missed it? If so, the queen cell that I found is indeed a new queen coming and I need to do something about it pronto. If not, then this queen is from a swarm that my hive cast off within the last month. I find this very hard to believe, as Drones have just started to come out. Plus, this hive had a ton of empty, drawn comb above them. They should not swarm with so much empty space (of drawn comb) above them! Or, that’s what I have read and have been told. The bees never even went up into the top deep!

So, ever hopeful, I am hoping that the new cell is a queen on the way. This Wednesday or Thursday, I will do a split if the queen cell that I found today turns out to be capped then. I will need to research this more.

I did put a medium super (all foundation, unfortunately, as that is all that I have right now) on this hive so that they can fill that out if need be. I also need to schedule a time to get into my weak hive. They may be getting ready to swarm too! ARGH!!!!

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