You may have noticed that we haven’t been talking much about hive #2 lately. The reason being that it has been a less than ideal spring summer for that hive.
We believe we may have had a weak Queen to begin with, and about half way through May we realized that the hive population was not growing, and in fact, had totally plateaued. And what is more, upon further inspection we noticed there wasn’t even a Queen in Hive #2!
Long story short we spent the summer nursing Hive #1 back to health after the swarm, and we pretty much wrote off hive #2 as lost…
After consulting with our bee mentor Bryon from Her Majesty’s Bees in the Mission, we decided on a course of action that would have us undertake a walk-away split. We felt this would give us the best chance of trying to have two strong hives going into winter.
For those that don’t know – which included us until a few weeks ago – a walk away split is exactly what it sounds like. You split your healthy hive in half and simply walk away. You don’t care which hive has the queen, you just split them and trust nature will take care of the rest – ie. the hive without a Queen will make one, etc…
Well, back to our story, so last week we had resolved to do the walk-away split with it already being late summer it was important we not wait too long so the new Queen could have a better chance of mating.
So Cam and Mr. Combover get all psyched up to do it and when we went into Hive #2 for a quick peak before performing the split, we noticed the strangest thing – there seemed to be more bees in the hive than on previous visits. Intrigued we inspected the frames and much to our surprise found a Queen! In fact we saw a semi-decent brood laying pattern as well.
Surprised and relieved and confused, we closed the hive up, decided not to perform the walk away split and instead settled on a course of action to let the Queen in hive #2 have a few weeks to show if she has the strength to get the hive off the ground.
So that’s where we’re at. More to come in a few weeks.
In the meantime here are some pics from inside hive #2. Any real pro beekeepers will notice in this first picture that the Queen is in the upper left corner, slightly covered, but you can see her elongated body all the same…