"And...they're off!" That's what comes to mind after inspecting my two new colonies on Saturday and finding what you see to the left...empty queen cages. I admit that I was prepared for them to be out of the cages and inside the hives. But would they be accepted by the bees in those colonies? That seemed to be the issue for me.
Why? As I discussed in my previous posts, the green hive had gone from swarm cells to supersedure cells -- then those disappeared and suddenly I had a laying worker on my hands. So while technically queenless, my concern was that acceptance would be a huge issue since one of the worker bees was now laying eggs and trying to save the hive. But after doing a "shake" and removing every bee from every frame and then introducing a new mated queen, I think I took care of that issue. She's out and doing fine.
The orange hive, the newest, wasn't much of a real concern since they were queenless for 24-hours before I put the queen cage in. I moved bees and brood over from the mother hive, then waited till the next day to put her and her attendants in. So I wasn't all that concerned that acceptance would be much of an issue for this hive.
As you can see, that's one of the newest monarchs introduced to my apiary. She's Carniolan, so she's darker than her adopted daughters from the other hive which are Italian. And she was born this year and this is a blue year for queen markings. This is the queen in the orange hive and believe it or not, she's already laying. I found new eggs in the cells and she has a consistent pattern so I think she will do fine. The queen in the green hive isn't laying yet, least I don't think do. A few of the frames in that hive had been used by the laying worker, so she doen't have a lot of empty space there now. But she was out and crawling across the frame and looked great.
Since the frames in the lower deeps are already drawn out, I decided now is the time to give these girls some room to expand. So to match the yellow hive, I added a second deep with nine frames and one drone frame, and on top of those I added feeders with 1:1 syrup to help them draw comb. Considering that both of the new hives have plenty of workers, that should give them something to do and keep them occupied.
I admit I am a little concerned about the orange hive though. It doesn't seem to have the coming and going traffic like the other two hives, and I've noticed ants crawling up the sides and occasionally in the entrance. But its only been a week for them now. The good thing I did notice was that one of the guards chased some of the ants out, so maybe they're settling in to make this their home. I also noticed an nasty earwig (which I smushed) in the corner of one of the frames, and I believe that's became the hive is sitting on cinderblocks. I'll eventually move it over to a steel stand like the others sit on, but I have to wait for the city to finish some clean-up work on the creek behind the house. Then I plan to relocate the hives to a more level location just a few feet away.
So that's my update. Things seem to be okay so far, and I'll check them again this coming weekend to see if they're on track.