I opened up the bees at my house today, and was shocked to find the number of bees I did. I’ve honestly never worked with such a robust hive before. I thought I had an idea of what I would be working with when I took off the telescoping cover and found bees bubbling out of the inner cover, but I couldn’t have predicted truly how big the colony was. Only a couple of the new frames I put into the hive lacked wax. Most of them had two fan shaped bits of comb drawn out on them. And they all started with drone cells at the top and then slowly changed into worker cells towards the middle. Honey was everywhere, and I could barely even see it under all of the bees. I wanted to get into all of the boxes today, but I genuinely couldn’t work around all of the bees. They stung my gloves probably 30 times, and I squashed at least two bees every time I made a move. Normally I don’t need a smoker to work a colony because they’re so docile and easily managed. There were so many bees here that, had I known, I would’ve absolutely brought one out with me.
I only got to check the second deep box before I finally gave up and put everything back together. I had a huge cloud of bees around me and was hardly being productive. I moved one of the empty frames up into the deep super, and switched it out for a new frame that was more drawn out. The upper super is all honey and a little bit of pollen. They still haven’t begun moving up into the short super, even though there were several hundred bees in it when I opened the hive, and they definitely need the space.
I’m probably going to have to split them to keep them from swarming. This colony is so large, I feel like I have a giant in my garden. And the weirdest part is, you would have no idea that they were even there! Since I moved them up onto the second tier, its like I don’t even have bees. They fly right out over your head and there hasn’t been anywhere near the same level of bees getting lost in the lawn. I’m slightly weary that they might try to swarm, but there weren’t any swarm cells in the second box, and they had a decent amount of new eggs. I kind of worry about the die off this colony will inevitably have. At the rate they’re going, the entire hive will be so filled with honey there won’t be room for eggs. Or even bees!