I also checked Large Marge’s hive this weekend, and I think it is going to be the last inspection for a few weeks. Her hive has been so big and vigorous, I just figured it was going to swarm, but I don’t see any evidence of queen cells that would indicate that.
She still has a great brood pattern and, even with this drought, they are managing to still stock away honey.
On a beautiful Sunday morning in Austin, TX, I opened up the hive to see how things were progressing. The top hive feeder still had quite a bit of syrup from my mid-week fill-up, but I added more syrup so I would not have to make another trip during the week. I’m hopeful that I can remove the feeder completely next week as the girls should now have enough numbers and nectar flow available to take care of themselves.
The 2nd super had a goodly amount of foundation drawn out with some capped brood in the middle frames. I’ve come to the conclusion that I added the 2nd super a week too early, but I don’t think that is going to matter in the long run. I’ll need to be a bit more patient and wait for the 2nd super to have at least 6 frames with capped brood and honey before adding the 3rd.
The 1st super was mostly filled with capped brood and honey with the exception of the outer most frames. However, there was evidence the bees were starting to draw out foundation on those as well so that is a good sign.
I was wondering if I was going to catch a glimpse of Large Marge and sure enough I spotted her on frame 5 on the original super. She tried to tell me a story of the worst accident she has ever seen, but I told her to get back to work laying eggs. Even though there is plenty of evidence she is laying well, it is always nice to see your queen.
I unfortunately did see 5 hive beetles, but they were all in the top hive feeder, and I got a lot of satisfaction squishing them dead. I did not see any evidence of them in the 2 brood supers, so that makes me feel better that the bees are driving them up away from the combs. The beetle trap is on its way, and this evening when it cools off a bit, I’m going to spray beneficial nematodes around the hive.
Below is a slide show of yours truly inspecting the frames. The frame that is completely vertical shows a really nice frame filled with capped brood in a tight pattern with honey on the upper corners.
It has been seven days since I installed the package of bees so today I opened the hive to see if Large Marge was still in the queen cage. I found the queen cage empty and the candy plug completely eaten away. The bees had also drawn out a lot of comb on the 6 middle frames. I switched frame positions for 1 and 2 and 7 and 8 to encourage the bees to use all eight frames. Bees have a tendency to ignore the outer most frames in the hives without a little encouragement. I also went ahead and added an additional super on top.