The good hive at home is no longer a very good hive. The queen is really struggling. She doesn't look good is barely moving on the frame and the colony is trying to make a new queen, perhaps to supersede her. I really don't think they're going to swarm.
Interestingly, they have back-filled a lot of comb with nectar and have used up most of the space for her to lay. I tried removing a couple of frames of nectar and and replacing it with drawn comb to see if she will resume laying there.
28 May 2011
The queen still looks lousy and is not laying. The box seems somewhat honey bound and rather crowded. I decided to split the hive and and will put a new queen in the queen-less hive. As it happens, one of my classmates at the Queen Rearing Workshop has some queens with him.
29 May 2011
I checked to see if there were any queen cells in the queen-less hive. I removed the start of one and installed the new queen.
Obviously, this hive has fallen behind, but we'll see if they are able to recover. Part of my reason for splitting was to use the hive with the sorry queen as a sort of mating nuc. If we succeed in our grafting, I'll remove the queen and install one of our grafted queen cells.
So that's 3 out of 4 queens that have failed for us this year. Bummer.
We surely won't make much honey this year, but we're learning more bees.