Out Among the Bees

The weekend before last we got our first package of bees. We chose to go with Carniolans our first go because they are said to be more docile. The queen package didn’t have candy in it, just a cork so we chose to just leave her in the cage for several days to make sure the workers would accept her. On Tuesday I removed the cork and released the queen. She scurried out quickly and disappeared. I closed up the hive and let them do their thing.

Yesterday we decided it was time to check on them again. We wanted to check their progress and make sure the queen was accepted and that she was laying eggs. The Carniolans are indeed very docile. They didn’t mind us at all, however, we made sure not to be too disruptive and to move slowly, deliberately and treat them with respect – no smashed bees here.

Gap between frames. The frames were all pushed together when I last was in the hive.

There was a tiny amount of brace comb, which we easily removed. I was dismayed to find some of our frames had been moved apart from the rest opening us up to a whole mess of problems with burr comb. When I released the queen I had made sure that all the frames were against each other tightly. I have my suspicions as to what happened.

The queen was very easy to find. She’s nearly black and was marked with a white dot. We checked all the frames and were happy to see a bit of capped honey, nectar and pollen stores along with eggs!

 The green arrow is pointing to a cell filled with nectar. The red arrow is pointing to an egg (they look like miniature grains of rice) and the blue arrow is pointing at pollen. The photo isn’t the best but you should be able to click on it to enlarge it.

We’ll check next week sometime to see what kind of brood we’ve got.


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  1. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Congrats on your bees, and on the eggs, looking good! I swear the bees move the frames. I'm certain with our Nuc colony that we pushed the frames as close together as they'd go, but one frame was gapped on our last inspection. I'm rather envious of your marked Queen, and she's very distinctive in appearance even without the dot. Our feral Queens seem to prefer to be more incognito ;)

  2. mariah says:

    I was just talking bee dreams today! We are on such a small residential lot – not sure I could get away with it. We might talk to Grandpa, perhaps we will keep them on the ranch??? Do keep us all posted on the happenings. really exciting!

  3. I just started my two colonies and I am feeling totally inept at being able to properly identify everything. I have been reading The Backyard Beekeeper as a reference, but I just don't know what kind of brood is being laid or if it's normal that the bees have created a huge amount of comb on the bottom of the frames in their first super. Your posting is great and I do believe I will use your site as another reference. Thanks!

  4. Rachel says:

    @Mary, I highly recommend you also visit Curbstone Valley Farm's blog. Clare really has some great informational posts about beekeeping with fantastic photos including how to tell between drone brood (domed) and worker brood (flat).

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