Queen in residence

It was time for another hive inspection. I really wanted to confirm that I had a laying queen to ensure the colony would survive. It takes around 3 weeks from the time an egg is laid by the queen to a new bee emerging and at the last inspection I had seen no evidence that an active queen was present. The swarm that flew over the house recently gave me real cause for concern as to whether I had a viable colony left in my hive.

It is important that every time I open the hive up I know the reason for doing so. You dont just open the hive for a look. Unnecessary disturbance of the colony is not welcomed. I wanted to find evidence that I had a laying queen in the hive. So I took the roof and crown board off and then the honey super box followed by the queen excluder giving me access to the lower brood box.

Removing the first few frames and shaking the bees off revealed lots of honey and pollen stores being put away. These are good indicators that he colony is active. On frame 4 from the front I saw what I was looking for. In a number of the comb cells were small white bee grubs curled up to resemble a creamy C in the bottom of the cell. This showed that at least eggs were being laid. On frame 5 I spotted the queen and some more grubs. That was all I needed to see today. The hive was boxed up and I walked away. Within 10 minutes the bees had calmed down. Another good sign that an active queen is present. If she was not the colony would tend to be restless a lot longer. I won’t touch the bees now until I get back from the Camino other than put another honey super on the hive. This is like adding another storey to your house. The family grows and needs more room.

Mark Dexter 2015