What is it with our bees?
Why do our bees never do what they are supposed to do? I checked in on them today as it was such nice weather. 23ºC, sunny and with just a very light puff of a wind. Having performed an artificial swarm on them last week I wanted to check several things.
This is the hive that contained the brood portion of the artificial swarm. It had most of the brood, most of the nurse bees, very few flying bees and most of the stores but no queen. I therefore wanted to check that their food stores were sufficient to keep them going until flying bees were on the scene and foraging. More importantly I wanted to check that they had realised the queen had swarmed and had therefore built some queen cells. Guess what? They hadn’t!
Usually when the queen is absent the bees should be a little more agitated. They weren’t, they were lovely and calm. Usually when the queen is absent they should build emergency queen cells so as to replace her. They hadn’t done so and today was three days since I had split them. That means they had been queenless for three days and therefore no new eggs had been laid for those three days. The trouble is they need an egg in order to produce an emergency queen cell so it looks as though they may have missed their opportunity. I couldn’t see any eggs in there but I guess there is still chance that there are one or two, and still chance that they have noticed the predicament of their queenless state. I’ll have to check again in a few days time to see if they have built some queen cells. If not, my only course of action will have to be to donate some eggs from the other hive to them.
Meanwhile, hive three that contained the ‘swarmed’ half of the split composed of all the flying bees and the queen was also nice and calm. There weren’t many bees in here as most of them would have been out flying in such weather. That should have made it easy to spot the queen. The colony was only on a couple of frames as well which should have made it easier still. However, I looked and looked but couldn’t see her. There were eggs in the cells though and new eggs since the split too so hopefully I was just being blind. If she has disappeared somewhere as well then we really are in trouble!
Whay can’t they just do what they are supposed to do for once!!