This weekend on Cape Cod was beautiful. Temperatures reached just above 70. This gave me the opportunity to get into some of the hives for a quick check.
Right: A strong hive for the first week of April. With 7 frames of bees, emerging brood, eggs, and larva, this hive needs more room.
Sure enough all the hives I checked had capped brood, eggs, and larva. Their strength ranged in size from three frames of bees up to eight.
One of my hives has been flying very strongly the past week or so. Something told me that I should look at them! I opened up the hive. I found eggs, larva, capped brood, and the queen! I also found two queen cells! I thought to myself… Isn’t it a little early for that?
Left: One of the two queen cells found in this colony. The queen was found with plenty of eggs. She is getting old, going into her fourth season. Are they trying to replace her, or are the planning to swarm? Time will tell.
This particular hive had a bad infestation of mites last fall. This particular hive of bees has had a bad case of mites for the past three years. Each fall I have had to treat them, and each spring they surprise me on how great they come through the winter.
This particular queen is three years old. She was purchase from a breeder from Vermont. She has outperformed most of the other queens in my apiary year after year. There was plenty of worker brood, larva, and eggs. I find it hard to believe they would be replacing her. Perhaps the bees felt congested, with the brood trapped between frames of capped honey (from last year) and new pollen.
I destroyed the queen cells and moved some empty comb near the brood. This should allow the queen more room to lay. I also place an empty brood chamber above them.
Right: A closeup of one of the two queen cells.
An inspection next week will tell if they are happy with the changes, or if there mind is made up to swarm!
Or perhaps this is just an early sign of a great honey season, or lots of swarms!