The weather finally let me inspect our hives again, and here is what I found:
- Susan continues strong, and needs another honey super right away.Â She is loading the 2nd brood chamber with stores and not enough brood (although she has plenty of bees), the one super I had on her is pretty much full;
- Emma is doing well, 2nd brood chamber a good mix of stores and brood. I put our remaining super on her, to keep her busy & productive;
- Victoria has laying workers, no sign of the queen & looked like all drone brood.
I took 2 brood frames from Emma and put them in Victoria, to keep at least some workers coming.Â The brood frames from Emma I replaced with the black plastic ones.Â Between rebuilding those and the super I think Emma will be kept busy & not swarm.
I have to locate a source of a local queen for Victoria, hope to find one I can put in place next week.Â I also need to clean up the old supers, we’re needing them.
It was no surprise that Susan, our one hive that survived the winter, is still the strongest hive. Â Two full brood boxes, and making progress on the super. Â The rainy weather has certainly slowed things down - this was the first time in weeks that I was able to inspect the hives. Â I wasn’t able to use the smoker because the matches wouldn’t light! Â I think I need a lighter for the smoker.
Emma is doing very well, and will need a super before long. Â She still has a few frames in the upper brood chamber that need to be completed with comb, etc. but she has ample bees for the job. Â The brood pattern looks good, a halo of honey stores around an oval pattern of brood. Â On the black plastic foundation it is easy to spot the larvae (it’s still hard to see the eggs, I think it is my aging eyesight to blame).
Victoria, though, is still struggling. Â The upper brood chamber is still hardly used, although 2 frames with some brood indicate the queen has been up there. Â The lower chamber looks better, but the brood pattern is still much sketchier than in Emma or Susan. Â If it weren’t threatening to thunderstorm (and I hear rumbling already), I’d have taken some brood from Susan to donate to Victoria. Â I don’t like to interfere that extensively in a hurry, and especially not without smoke. Â Perhaps next weekend will offer a better opportunity for meddling in the affairs of bees!