Possible Trouble

I opened the hive yesterday and was really excited to see three or four deep frames of honey in the top box. The bees have started drawing out all of the frames and everything in the top box looked good. There weren’t any eggs in there yet though, but I just figured the queen would wait until the cells were drawn out completely before bothering to climb up there.

The lower box, the ones that the bees have been living in for the most part all year, looked normal for the most part. Except for the serious lack of eggs and larvae. There are still a few frames of capped brood, including several clumps of drones. A couple frames of brood space have been filled in with pollen, and there are only a few scattered clumps of freshly laid eggs. And some of those eggs looked like they’d been laid off to the side of the comb, instead of directly in the middle like they should be (possibly indicating laying workers?). I couldn’t find the queen, nor did I see the queen cup they had built (there was an egg soaking in royal jelly in it) last week.

I’m a little worried that the bees are either going to swarm (they certainly have the resources to do it) or they’re queenless. Either case is not good, but I’d much rather that they were queenless since that’s something that I can fix somewhat easily. Where as swarming is something I’d get in trouble with the city for, and could possibly get fined for.

It’s been raining for the past four days, although the bees have been flying around with only slightly reduced numbers. I’m hoping that the bees have just requeened and the crappy weather hasn’t allowed the new queen to get out to do proper mating flights yet (though I know that’s highly unlikely), and that the old queen is being allowed to live to keep egg laying going until the new queen is able to. Which is what last years bees did.

I’ll be opening the bees up as soon as I can and sticking close to home so I can watch for a swarm. Let’s hope nothing goes wrong!


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2 responses to “Possible Trouble”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    Oh no, eggs on the side of cells are a sign of laying workers as their abdomens can’t reach to the bottom of the cell like the queen’s can. Another sign is multiple eggs in a cell. If you do have laying workers you’d better requeen carefully and quickly as from everything I’ve heard and read a laying worker hive is notoriously difficult to requeen. Maybe talk to the beekeeper you know to see if you can get a queen or frame of eggs from him? Will be thinking of you!

    • willowbatel says :

      The eggs weren’t on the sides of the cells, just oddly placed at the bottom. (I just went back and read through my post and realized I said that wrong; the eggs were definitely on the bottom of the cell, just off to the side, not in the middle). I read through my beekeeping book and realized I’d forgotten a bit about laying workers. So I’m hoping the queen is just having difficulties and they can make another one quickly.
      Yeah, the book said they were almost impossible to requeen, depending on how far gone the colony is. I’m going to open them up ASAP, i.e Thursday. I’m hoping that I just misjudged what I saw and by then everything will look right and I won’t have to do anything. They were doing so well; I’d be really disappointed if they had a mishap like this now.
      Thanks for your thoughts! Have you had a chance to check on your girls yet?

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