Mid September Inspection

I figured after over 3 weeks of leaving the bees alone I should open things up to see what was going on. I’ve been leaving them alone because we’re painting our house and the patio cover still isn’t finished, and I didn’t want the bees out bothering people.

There were 3 frames in the super that were 98% capped, so I’ll harvest those for sure. There were a couple more that were around 50% capped. The rest were only barely capped, if at all. The honey was the prettiest color though. It was a really deep red. I’d never seen honey that color before. When I harvest I’ll definitely take some pictures to show you. It was intense. And what was really weird was that I found a bee in the hive that was the same color as the honey. She was by far the prettiest bee I’ve ever seen. Her thorax was hairless and jet black (I had to look at her for a minute, because I’ve only ever seen queens without hair on their backs) and her abdomen was the red color of the honey. I wish I had a picture of her.

There was lots of honey in the rest of the hive. The top brood box was almost too much for me to lift. I was really worried that the queen had died though because all of the brood space in the top box had been filled in with pollen and honey. So had the majority of the bottom box. I didn’t want to go through the whole box in search of the queen because the bees were starting to get aggressive at this point (even with lots of smoke) so I just checked the middle frames for eggs. I only found eggs on one of them, and it was a veeery small pocket. They were freshly lain eggs though, and they were all at the bottom of the cells, so the queen is definitely still in there. And I know that egg laying slows down for winter, but it worries me because it’s so drastic. There were a few pockets of capped brood through out the hive, but it looked like it was all older cappings, meaning the bees were closer to emerging than to having just been capped.

I’ll be really upset if the queen has died or doesn’t have enough sperm saved up to continue laying through the winter, because they have more than enough stores saved up to get them through. Especially since once I harvest I’ll be taking the super off and leaving it out for them to clean up all the stuff that’s not capped. I think next year I might split this hive three ways. I’ll make a new hive to keep here, and then another hive for my aunts. Cause even though having a second hive at my aunts would be nice, I won’t be able to move things around as easily as if the hives were right next to each other. It might be stretching the bees a little thin though, so I might space out the splittings

Anyway, the bees have plenty of stores to last them through the winter, and I’ll be getting some of their extra honey. That reduction in egg laying is just a little worrying to me…

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