Yesterday afternoon, I did three more hive inspections.
Hive #5 has two frames of brood in a very nice pattern. They have four frames of nectar, some honey, and some pollen. They had emptied out the other frames of their stores, and so these want feeding as often as possible. The temperament was good, particularly for bees that seem low on stores to me. Didn’t find queen and couldn’t see eggs against the dark background of the frames, but so much nice looking brood and calm bees make me think things are fine here, so long as they get fed. These bees are able to down a quart of sugar water in a day’s time.
Hive #4 is the hive that replaced their queen shortly after requeening. I was braced for the worst, but actually, these are fabulously pleasant bees. Food stores around the outside of brood frames, no running for the hills when I pull a frame, no trying to kill me. Somehow, this new queen seems to come from good bees. She’s teensy! I’m shocked that I did get to see her. Nowhere near as large as her predecessors. But her brood pattern is lovely and her bees are productive and friendly. Long live the Queen. These bees had three boxes on, but they weren’t really using the top one, so I reduced them down to just the two boxes. Their bottom box is almost run out of stores, so they have room to make honey if they want to. These bees aren’t drinking their sugar water very fast, so they must not feel all that worried.
Hive #3 also needed to be reduced. This queen is still marked and her bees are really very polite, although the sound they made when I pulled the top off made me dread what was going to happen. They were all noise and no sting, though. Their sound felt urgent and worried, and they did seem low on stores. They went through two thirds of their quart of sugar water yesterday and I’ll put more on for them in the morning. They would benefit from some pollen patty, too, I think. There isn’t a ton of brood, but the pattern looked good and I saw eggs. I think they must not want to raise more than they can feed.
That leaves just one hive that needs inspection in the coming days. Numbers have no real mnemonic value for me, so I’m thinking of naming the hives. It might help me tell them apart in writing. I can see the inspection in my mind as I write, but in six months, the details will pale and I’ll have to match the notes with the numbers on the hive and hope I wrote enough down. Maybe if I named them after something memorable, I might have a better sense of the narrative of each hive’s history.