I opted not to check Ramona’s hive today. I figured if there was a newly emerged queen, disturbing the hive at this point was probably not a good idea. I just topped off the feeder and decided to take a quick peek in Large Marge’s hive.
I found a disturbingly high number of hive beetles on the underside of the telescoping top cover which was initially concerning. After going medieval on their tiny asses, I took off the screened inner cover to start my inspection. The 6th super is still only partially drawn out but still full of bees. With this current drought, it will probably remain like this for the rest of the summer, but I don’t want to remove it to avoid crowding in the hive.
The 5th super is now all honey. It looks like the girls decided to move all the honey to this super which just reinforces my decision that queen excluders are a waste of time and just disrupt the natural order of things. No sign of any beetles in this super which makes me think the girls drove them up to the top cover.
The big shock came inspecting the 4th super. It isn’t the greatest picture because we weren’t expecting to see a new queen and had to hastily get this picture.
I last saw Large Marge on March 3rd during the first inspection of this spring. At the time she was laying well and the hive was full of bees. I’m not sure what happened. I guess it is possible that Large Marge is still in the hive and in either the 1st or 2nd super, but I’m not about to tear the hive apart looking for her. I also don’t think the hive swarmed because I think I would have noticed if half the bees in the hive absconded.
I didn’t inspect the hive any further after seeing the new queen. I’ll wait a week and do a more thorough inspection next week when I open up both hives.