Update #2!

We now have 5 hives, 5 queens of which 5 are laying. Dayum! That is true but two of the five hives are still very small. Still, I started with one small hive in the spring and now have three strong ones. We’ve been harvesting small amounts of honey throughout the season (next update) and all our hives that came from Mark’s queen have either no mites or maybe just very few. One of my three strong hives, the swarm that came from elsewhere, now has a big mite problem but I am gassing the crap out of them and a lot of mites are dropping. I’ve done as much downsizing as possible and this is where they’re at. Take a look:

Hive #1: the Original (and the biggest)

  • I’ve had this hive for 5 months now. Despite the absence of a queen for a solid month (end of May), it is still our biggest hive at 4 supers high.
  • Brown queen with two black spots. Her birth date is June 22, 2021
  • Top two supers are mostly honey, mostly still uncapped.
  • Very chill vibes
  • 1 or 2 mites

Hive #2: The Swarm that arrived from somewhere

  • This swarm arrived on May 16, 2021
  • Brown queen started laying the moment she moved in.
  • 3 supers high
  • Very chill vibes
  • As of Aug. 22, I’ve noticed it’s the only hive to have an alarmingly high mite count. I’ve been vaping them every second day.

Hive #3: Mark’s black queen

  • I’m just going to assume she’s in this one based on circumstantial evidence (until proven wrong). We received her on April 4 and I transferred her to a new home on May 18
  • Amazing work ethic. It’s the only hive that’s not chill. Got another bee sting through the glove.
  • The black queen is from 2020 most likely.
  • It is also 3 supers high and given their feisty nature, they might be the strongest.
  • No mites to date

Hive #4: On the Rocks (experiment of a split)

  • This was a split I made on May 25
  • The black queen was born June 1, 2021
  • Initially they had the multiple eggs in single cells problem but that has improved significantly. However, they have not had much expansion, if any. Their numbers might be higher but they were robbed of honey. I know this because I gave them two full frames that are empty again. Or did they eat it?
  • They are only about 5 frames big.
  • Pretty chill all things considered.
  • No mites to date

Hive #5: Mysterious Hive (aka the Figtree hive)

  • The hive that just appeared. Found on May 31
  • It has a laying black queen possibly originating from the original big hive.
  • Initially this crew also had multiple eggs in single cells and like the Hive on the Rocks, they too have had no expansion and have almost no honey storage. But the egg situation is looking normal now.
  • One or two mites to date.

Overall I’m very pleased with all my bee children. I couldn’t have asked for a better bee season. Now that the blackberry harvest is over, so is the bee summer. As of August 27, I’ve started supplementing again with sugar water (1:1) and I noticed they were quite hungry and some even desperate as they tried to steal it from other hives. I won’t be taking any more honey and I intend to insulate them at some point. I’m excited about next year. I’d expand more but I think I’m not allowed to have more. They’ll just have to grow vertically instead 🙂

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