Monthly Archives: August 2015

Community Veggie Garden

New site link: http://bees.millar-knorr.nl/beekeeping/second-apiguard-treatment/

Just a short update.

Because the weather was lousy here for a few days. There even was some record number of nonstop rain hours, 60, which apparently this is not unheard of in autumn, winter or spring but quit rare for summer. Anyway, the rain prevented me from continuing the Apiguard treatment, replacing the tray for a new one. Saturday was cold-ish so I thought “I’ll do it tomorrow in between showers”…but there was no “in-between”.

I think I already mentioned that I was missing a honey super from the bee stand but now I’m also missing a syrup feeder. I’ll contact the beekeepers society that exploits the apiary. I’m thinking that maybe I should take my bees somewhere else and not store my stuff at the bee stand. My wife started a community vegetable garden close by, which has a garage close by where we get our water from. On top of this garage I can place the bees. That way non of the gardeners or visitors (both of which a surprising number are afraid of getting stung) will be directly confronted by the bees.

The drones in the above video are desperate for a meal, there were a lot visiting the colony. I don’t know if my girls are one of the last to continue to feed them, I didn’t notice as many at the other hives. In dutch they call the cession of feeding the drones “de darren slacht” which literally translates to the drone slaughter even though the workers don’t actually kill the drones they at most drag them out of the hive and refuse to feed them. I don’t know what the official English term for this behavior is, anyone? Compared to many solitary bees the honey bee male has is easy, he gets fed and is welcomed everywhere. Many solitary bees have to defend a range against intruders and other males. They don’t get free room and board or they get lucky a date with a queen. They just work their ass of and if they’re lucky get to mate with a number of commoners…

FYI, I reduced the hive entrance before I left so the girls don’t have defend such a large opening against wasps and robber bees.

Andrew

Queen cell

Two Queens

This time of year it’s possible to find two queens in your colonies, don’t panic, this is often caused by a silent supersedure. That’s where the bees decide that an old queen or under performing queen gets dethroned by the worker bees. So I guess bee colones are more of a democracy rather than a monarchy than you would think.

A blog from our national bee society mentioned this issue recently. I think this is what happened to Sif last year. I was already not very satisfied with the queen but didn’t get to replace her. Then I found an empty queen cell in early fall. I didn’t know what to do, but already suspected a silent supersedure. As I hadn’t marked my queen, I had no way of knowing.

What I don’t understand is why the new queen doesn’t eliminate the old queen immediately, and if she doesn’t what happens to the old queen? Does the new queen kill the old queen later, after a nuptial flight? Do the worker bees eliminate the old queen? Does the old queen leave of her own accord? I don’t know, although the last option seems unlikely to me. Anyone have any idea?

Andrew