In case you missed the bad bee news, our bees swarmed two weeks ago. Today, we gave the hive a good look to see how the bees are doing post swarm. What we found was a ton of honey and hatched queen cells but no new brood and no queen. Given that there has been no egg laying since our hive swarmed, we may be without a queen. But we might also be just fine. If we do have a new queen, it may be another week before we see laying begin.
When our queen decided to pick up and leave, she took half the hive with here. Before she left, though, she laid eggs in a few queen cups like this one.
All baby bees are fed royal jelly, but the larva that hatches in the queen cups is fed extra royal jelly. This high-protein substance is secreted from glands on the worker bees and it’s what makes a queen. The workers build an extra large case around the developing larva. This is called a queen cell. Around the 7th day, the cell is capped off. She continues to grow inside her chamber and on the 15th to 17th day, she hatches. The new queens battle it out to the death to determine who will bee the new queen. About a week later, the new queen does her nuptial flights (she flies up in the air to mate with drones). And a few days after that, she begins laying. That said, we won’t know for sure if our hive has a new queen for a at least few more days.
In the meantime, we are down to the last few capped brood from our first queen.
With no brood to care for, the bees have been putting all their effort toward honey production.
We’ll be checking on the hive again soon. Keep your fingers crossed that we find eggs and a queen!