Keep On Keepin' On
What We Expected
It had been 6 days since our last visit (not including the side trip Caitlin made to move around some frames and give some new hardware).
We expected to see a reduction in swarming/supercedure behavior and strong signs of the hives expanding further and further.
What We Saw
Immediately upon opening the top of the Swarm Hive, we saw a covering of dark ants. They didn't seem to be inside the hive, but they were definitely encroaching on the entrances. Inside the hive itself, we saw a small collection of bees in the center frames. The queen had certainly emerged, but it was unclear if she was still present/matured/etc.
The Wood Hive surprised us by having some bees scattered between top, bottom, and middle, but we were thrilled to see the no-longer-virgin queen in her full laying glory, making a full recovery from their laying worker status just a few weeks prioer.
The Green Hive is absolutely taking off with new comb building out, the queen laying in all three brood boxes, and no signs of swarming or supercedure. She's our flagship queen for now.
The Witch Hive, however, appeared to be lacking in some eggs, though they were certainly about. It seems that maybe those queen cells were in fact supercedure cells and they might be trying to replace her. We didn't find her in the hive, but we did see a handful of eggs.
What We Did
Not a whole lot. We checked on their status and noted it, but we didn't actually change much around. We checkerboarded some brood frames to promote some build out, but otherwise, we're keeping them as they are and will reassess in July how to proceed into honey production.
What We’ll Do
For the Swarm Hive, we're going to leave them be for a while and treat them somewhat as an experiment. Their chances of survival are very slim, especially given their numbers, queen status, and the fact that's it mid-June. We're thinking they might be a comb-builder for a few months, just building up resources for later seasons, and by the fall get combined with another hive.
The Green Hive just need to keep on keepin' on! We're going to let them continue as they are, being on the lookout for problems as they might arise.
The Witch Hive needs to be watched as they're likely going to need to requeen in the next few days. If they do, they may end up getting some eggs from Green.
Wood Hive needs some time to just get more bees, but they have their Flow Hive materials on. We expect everything to continue on well and we'll monitor for issues.