It’s been a really interesting year so far. I’ve never taken as much interest in my bees as this year. I check on them daily to make sure they have shade, water and things look normal. I observe them and take notes. And I take risks.
When we made splits on May 25, one of those was placed on bedrock. Its black queen emerged on June 1 (6 days later). I was stoked it had worked with just one queen cell.
But after that things got rocky.
June 3 – no black queen
June 7 – I see the black queen but no eggs
June 9 – no black queen
June 16 – EGGS!!!!! Unfortunately multiple eggs in single cells. At first I just see single eggs and sometimes two eggs in single cells. A newly mated queen may lay two eggs in a single cell as she gets better at it. But as the days go by, things start to look worse.
I decide this hive is doomed. There’s obviously a problem and a worker bee has decided to start laying eggs. This is really unfortunate because the hive has a brand new queen. At this point you can try requeening the hive or let it take its course. I decide on the latter. Worst case scenario, we can salvage the frames they’ve worked on and use them for our other hives.
We also decide to try another experiment. A few years ago we harvested some honey frames but life got in the way of extracting it. Later we found them but the honey had started smelling a bit sour. I know honey doesn’t go bad but at the same time, it just smelled off. And so we gave one of these old frames to this hive to see if they could clean it up.
On July 4, I am pleasantly surprised. It still looks goofy in there with multiple eggs in single cells but absolutely no drone brood! And despite a much slower pace, they’ve added pollen and things are looking fuller. The elusive queen, who doesn’t like sunlight, is still frantically pacing about. Worker bees aren’t attending to her. The two old honey frames I’d given them, have been cleaned and smell like fresh honey again! Check out their capped worker bee brood:
So how is this possible? They say that if you have multiple eggs in one cell, your hive is doomed! And now it looks that they are on the road to recovery. My theory is that they had a rocky start. There weren’t enough worker bees to clean the cells and so the queen had no place to lay eggs and one worker bee lost patience and decided to take matters into her own hands. We are still not 100% confident but I am optimistic this hive will make a full comeback. They’re my Come Back GRRRrrllllsss!
Happy Beekeeping and stay tuned for much more to come! 🙂