A problematic day in beekeeping.
1. The good news: I have still not been stung. The bad news: the assistant beekeeper suffered our first sting. We made it over a year with no injuries. Today a bee crawled up her pants' leg and got squashed and gave its life and its stinger. The ABK is limping around with a baking soda poultice on her leg.
2. The good news: The swarm hive has drawn out frame throughout their box. The bad news: they are looking suspiciously queenless. Not much uncapped brood, too many drone cells and drones hanging out. Could we have another laying worker hive?
3. The good news: The original hive is chock full of honey. We put on a bee escape to see if we can harvest honey from the two supers on Monday. The bees should go out of the bee escape into the rest of the hive and not be able to get back up into the supers, so we should be able to just lift the supers off and take them in the house in a couple days. Their top deep is also chock full of honey. The uneasy news: we couldn't get into the bottom deep to check on things there. The top deep was REALLY HEAVY, and seemed to have frames stuck to the bottom box, so we gave up without fully assessing the situation of the hive. We are hopeful that the bottom box is not full of honey and that there is a queen and brood and a normal situation down there. We should have harvested honey a week or two ago, but have been out of town and unavailable.
4. The good news: well, heck, let's just skip to the worries of the hive that we started this spring. "The new hive," not to be confused with "the swarm hive." We didn't find a remarkable lot of brood or honey in the new hive's box. The bottom deep box had lots of bees in it, but not much of anything in the cells. The top deep box had honey around the top edges, but we didn't see much evidence of a queen. Could we be losing both of our two newest hives?
Drat. I took a couple pictures of the swarm hive frames, but was having trouble with the blogging program, so I'll maybe post those separately.