Rosemary’s Royal Debut

We went in and looked at the hives yesterday. The bees were amazingly calm and friendly. They didn’t really pay too much attention to us at all except when I tried to shake them off of frames to get a better look. I did get stung, but that was only because one of the Rosemary girls crawled up my pant leg and I couldn’t get her out. When she got up to my thigh she must have felt trapped/constricted, and tried to defend herself.

Thyme hive had lots of stored nectar – this will all be honey soon.

Beeswax with stored nectar
See all those cells in the middle that look like they are full of clear liquid? They are.

The dark cells at the center of this frame are places where bees have recently hatched out. A cell in honeycomb only stays pristine white/yellow until a bee hatches from it. Then the very outer layer of her cocoon remains in place, and it is dark. After many cycles of pupating and emerging bees, brood comb will turn almost black. In some of the darkened/hatched cells, new larva are already developing and getting ready to pupate. In others, the bees are backfilling with nectar.

Honeycomb showing emerged brood and drone cells.
The smallish, uniform cells in the middle were/are worker brood. The bigger ones on the lower right corner are the size that the queen likes to lay drone eggs in.

We did see Queen Thyme again, but today she was a bit camera shy. Can you spot her?

Honeycomb with worker and queen bee
Look near the top left corner. You can only see her long golden abdomen; she has hidden her head and thorax behind her girls.

Several of the frames in Thyme have had wax built all the way out to attach to the sides of the frame.

Not yet attached at the bottom, but all the way out to the sides!
I’m so proud of them – that was a lot of hard work!

We did not see any drones at all, in either hive – which seemed weird to me because there have been several just droning around at all of our other inspections. Come to think of it I haven’t seen any on the landing board for a few days, either. But there was a reasonable amount of drone comb and capped drone brood around the edges of several of the frames.

Drone Brood.
See the “bubbled” cells? Drones are bigger, they need more room (and time) to pupate. There are also more of those larger, “drone-sized” cells of wax down at the lower left corner of this frame.

When we opened Rosemary Hive, the first thing we saw was that they had started building a bit of random odd comb. There were two frames like this, the very outboard ones of the box. We caught it early, and there was nothing stored in it yet so it was not too difficult to get it cleaned off.

The frames I have don't fit tightly in the box, there is an extra 3/8
The frames I have don’t fit tightly in the box, there is an extra 3/8″ or so of space outboard of the #1 and #8 frames. Bees don’t like extra space, so apparently they often try to fill it with extra gobs of comb.

Burr 2

They are also storing up a whole lot of pollen and nectar! I’m super excited about this, because this is the hive that got off to a rough start and they have been struggling to catch up.

Honeycomb partially filled with nectar and pollen
I love how many different colors of pollen are visible here. That means a LOT of different kinds of flowers are blooming and providing food for my girls!

Thyme also has a few frames with comb drawn out to attach to the sides. Only the back side, though. They are being very slow about working towards the front.

Left of this picture is the rearward face of the box. Every frame in the hive is like this - build out from amidships to aft, but nothing towards the stem of the... wait, wrong jargon. It's not a boat. Well, once a sailor, always a sailor, I guess.
The left of this picture is the rearward face of the box. Every frame in the hive is like this – build out from amidships to aft, but nothing towards the stem of the… wait, wrong jargon. It’s not a boat.

And there she is, Queen Rosemary, beautiful and busy. Yay! The hubs got several really great shots of her – she was just sort of meandering around on capped brood, not laying or moving particularly fast … maybe it was her day off? She probably needed a little rest, clearly she has been laying a lot since we installed this group because there are a LOT more bees in it now than there were two weeks ago.

Queen bee
Right in the middle. Can’t miss her!
Queen Bee
At least for today, she is NOT shy.  She practically posed for him.
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