After finally getting some time off this month, the first thing I did was open up the bees to see how they were doing. The hive was a little lighter than the last time I worked with them, but there are still lots of frames of honey. Pollen is making its way into the brood nest in preparation for winter, and there are probably 11 frames of brood. I switched the two brood nest boxes because the queen was still making an effort to get up to the deep super where the newer comb is, but she’s definitely slowed down with the slowed nectar flow. That said, as I’m writing this there are thousands of bees flying around the hive. If I didn’t know better I would almost say they were getting ready to swarm. I did find the beginnings of a few swarm cells along the edges of several frames, but there aren’t any eggs in any of them. The sheer number of bees coming and going from this colony is unbelievable. Anyone who has seen a swarm emerge from a hive knows what that initial surge of bees looks like, where they’re slowly spiraling up out of the hive and sort of hang around 6 or 7 feet above it. That’s how this colony always looks. There is always a cloud of bees circling just overhead; spiraling up before they speed off in search of nectar.
The drone population has stayed exceptionally low though, because there just aren’t any frames in the brood nest with drone cells on them. The new frames are all being drawn in drone cells size as a result I think. Next year I’ll be nice and let them raise a frame of drones. They deserve it after a year like this one!