Helping Wood Hive Out
What We Expected
After Caitlin's previous visit, we expected to see some sign of the newly emerged Wood Queen (expected to emerge May 27th-28th). We also expected to see a reduction in laying worker activity as a result of the previous infusions of open brood.
As for the other hives, they have been performing great, so there was no real need to check on them, though signs of top box queen activity would be promising.
What We Saw
It had been raining the past couple days and it was overcast and tepid. When opening up the Wood Hive, we say signs of laying workers and capped drone cells, indicating they're still in the throws of their laying worker condition. However, we were able to get eyes on the newborn Wood Queen. (We were not able to get a photo of her, but it was clear by her smooth, short abdomen and smooth, black thorax that she was a virgin queen.)
In the other hives, we did a quick inspection of just the new top boxes and were able to see both queens as well as see laying activity!
What We Did
In an effort to stop the laying workers from taking up all available space, we brushed the laying workers off away from the hive.
Laying workers are young, pre-foraging workers who have not yet either developed the strength for flight nor taken the necessary navigation flights to be able to find their way back when displaced. By brushing bees off the frames, non-laying, flight-capable bees will fly back while problematic workers will be abandoned.
What We’ll Do
The Green and Witch Hives are doing great and don't need anything right now but time. We'll leave them alone for about a week or so and put honey supers on once we have good brood cover of the second boxes.
For the Wood Hive, we'll check on it in a week for signs of new eggs and a mated queen. Caitlin saw the queen cells empty on the 26th, meaning that she'll likely be ready for mating on the 30th/31st. If there's no weather delay, she could start laying as soon as June 1st. Our next visit won't be until June 4th at the earliest, so we hope to see signs of laying by then.*
*Reference: Honey Bee Suite