Proud Dad

Like a proud Dad, I can announce that there are larvae in both beehives*.  Absolutely, definitely this time. You can see the larvae curled up in the first photo below and you can also see some larvae that have been capped in the second photo (bottom left) … beautiful.

uncapped honeybee brood


proud dad

Like any new born, they don’t look pretty but you’ve got to think long term. In about 21 days these little grubs will reach puberty and then fly the nest (only in this case, I won’t need to fork out for tuition fees).

Having essentially ‘fathered’ these hives, I experienced intense relief, which lasted about 5 seconds, and some joy, which lasted about 3½ hours.  However this joy was quickly replaced by newly developed worries; timescales I suspect most new-Dads can appreciate.

Like two small children – my hives already have distinct personalities …

Beehive A – ‘the late developer’

Now this one had me worried. I had adopted Beehive A and so I couldn’t be sure of anything and as soon as I got it, it went off the rails and swarmed.  Seven weeks later, the colony has settled down in its home and despite keeping me on my toes with little evidence of a Queen, nature has come good and I’m very proud.

Beehive B – ‘the productive protégé’

These amazing bees have drawn out 9 of the 11 frames (in a 14×12 brood box).  The sugar syrup I fed them has done the job.  There were cells containing brood and some capped honey around the edges.  Very pleased.

Of course, with both hives, come worries…and my main one is whether they will produce any honey.

Worker bees take 21 days from egg until they hatch.  They then spend their first 18 days on jobs in the hive.  We’re looking at the end of July before these bees start foraging but the second main nectar flow finishes about then too.  Let’s hope there is some nectar and pollen for the bees to collect in August.

I also saw a moth during my “inspection” but at the time I didn’t consider it due to my usual panic.  However, I am now a bit worried that it might have been a wax moth.  I will look out for this next time I go in.

I need advice. Perhaps a little fatherly pep talk from more experienced beekeepers who know more than me?

  • Should I remove a super from the old hive (so they can cap more of the current honey in the first super)?
  • Should I add a super to the new hive or let them draw out more brood frame?
  • Should I feed the new hive again due to all this poor weather?

Let me know if you know!

* I should also probably tell you that the 20 week scan my wife and I went to this week shows that we are probably going to have a baby girl.  Hurrah!

Postscript: You might want to read It’s A Girl.


Proud Dad — 10 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t say I’m an experienced beekeeper, but it sounds like Hive B is ready for a super. Keep an eye on their store levels though.

    Should I remove a super from the old hive (so they can cap more of the current honey in the first super)?

    Think we need more info on this. How many supers are on now? Is the super you plan to remove already all capped? If so there’s no harm in harvesting it now. A Porter bee escape is usually the easiest method, or if the bees are gentle you could just brush them off and put each frame into plastic bin bags one by one.

    Congratulations on your baby girl! Bee-trice?

  2. great pics, now I think larva actually do look beautiful, the way they sit in a glistening, pearlescent pool of food, lovely.

    • Feels good doesn’t it … like a job well done. Did you feed the swarm? Do you think we’ll get any honey this year from our newly-hived swarms?

      • Been back today and the first frame of brood has emerged, and the cells are already recharged with new eggs! There are now five 14×12 frames of brood (up from three last week) and with their numbers now increasing I’m hoping the remaining frames will be drawn and laid within the next few weeks.

        We have been feeding with 1:1 syrup the whole time – we only had foundation to give them so figured the syrup would well with all the wax building.

        Assuming the brood continues to expand, I’m hoping to be able to remove the feeder and add a super in August. Very weather dependent though!

    • Yep. Amazing. I had loads of cool names for boys: Buzz, Johnny Bee Good … 🙂 Working on girl names now.

      You can tell the difference between worker brood (girls) and drone brood (boys) by the capping of the cells, it sticks out further on drone brood. I will post some photos in time. When they hatch out drones, are bigger. Speak soon.

  3. I don’t know what you should do without understanding your climate and how much more time you are expecting to have that honey flow and what it will consist of. I am a world away, but with you in spirit. I have many of the worried Dad problems. I suppose let it ride. I don’t normally expect my NEW swarms to make me any honey the first year. I want them to build up and get strong for year two.

    One thing I can tell you is looking at your newly emerged larvae is easier than looking at a newly born child. Child birth is messier than emergence of a new worker bee! 😐 Congrats on the 20 week scan. Keep us posted on that progress. If only the time to wait on that little worker would only be 21 days!!! 🙂

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