Saturday, May 21, 2011

Secondary Swarm Preparations Under Way

I took a long overdue bike ride to the Farmer's Market in Arcata this morning and when I returned there were a gazillion bees in the air flying about in probably a 75 foot radius, pretty big. My heart sank and I quickly realized me bees were swarming again. Needless to say, I'm not prepared and I didn't think this would really happen since I felt I was diligent in cutting out all but two queen cells from the hive. Within several minutes, they began condensing close to the hive and eventually landed on the south face of the hive in a huge cluster. This wasn't a swarm since they returned home, but it means they're preparing to leave again. How much excitement is too much excitement you ask?

Fortuitously, Marc assembled the hive his friend Rocky gave him last night so that he could start a hive at his house. It's not painted yet, but it will due in a pinch. Considering that, if we are lucky a second time to catch our own swarm when it leaves, we'd be phenomenally lucky if the three hives all end up "queen right", or with well-mated viable queens. More probable is that at least one hive will have no queen or an unmated queen and we'll have to recombine it in time with one of the two already established. That will at least give us a chance to paint the new hive and get it to Arcata. This is baptism by fire.

On a positive note, I went in and checked the new hive from the swarm on Monday and found the original queen with her little white dot. She has laid eggs on one side of one of the frames. There's not much comb built in there yet so she's probably waiting for the working girls to build more comb so she has a place to continuing with her motherly mission. Phew! Later today if the wind dies back I hope to inspect the original hive and see what in the world is going on in there. Crazy, huh?

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