News from the Beeyard

on Friday, 24 May 2013. Posted in Winery Blog

Box Branding & Queen Rearing

Spring is finally here. My bees are bringing in pollen and nectar that are used to raise many new bees for the hives. Brood rearing will continue a few more weeks until each hive decides it has enough foragers bringing in nectar that they will successfully store enough honey for the coming winter. Weather plays an important part in this as you might well imagine. Temperature has been 10 degrees below normal for the month, May, but the sun has been kind.

As I expand the number of hives I thought it would be good to be able to identify my hives from any others. Paint is the first choice for ID but even better is to brand the wood. I got the brander this past week and was able to start with some bottom boards and hive bodies. I like it!

BBBeeBrand

This is also the time of year that bees yearn to create new hives. By working with this urge I can encourage a hive to create new queens to head colonies that I will assemble at this time. Honeybees are not domesticated and will march to no one's orders. A beekeeper has to understand and work with the cycles of this superorganism that is the sum of the workers, the queen and the drones.

I'm including a photo of a cell grafting frame with two bars of cells that I placed new one day old larvae in to encourage the bees to make queen cells. This is my first attempt. I was moderately successful as the bees have accepted some of the grafts. Under the festooning bees there are a few new queen cells taking shape. In two weeks virgin queens will emerge and then need to make several mating flights. When mated, each queen will return to her hive to stay for a year (I hope) and the following spring will be part of a swarm that leaves home to fly off to create a new hive.  

QueenCastleBrandCellBar

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