Finally! Three months after installing my first package of bees, I found the queen. Today during my hive inspection, I began pulling out the third bar from the front and heard a louder buzz come up from the hive as I lifted it up. That was my first clue. I thought: she must be here. Sure enough, there she was in her royal majesty, looking just like a queen bee should. She was large and golden and just perfect.
When I bought my package in April, I paid a little extra for a marked queen. The queen I received had a white dot on her back. I remember thinking that she didn't really look like what I imagined a queen would (much smaller), but I just went with it. Well, guess what my queen bee does not have? That's right, no white dot to be found. So, either what I got wasn't really a queen (unlikely) or, the queen I got died or was killed. My hive made and raised its very own, homegrown queen bee. This also means she probably mated with local drones, so my hive is not really Russian bees but a sort of local mutt strand. Although it sounds bad, it's actually better for me. Local feral bees have survived the parasites that are taking out so many hives these days, and their resistant genes have been passed to my queen and then to my hive. I'm thrilled.
The corrections from a few weeks ago continue to look good. We cut out a lot of honey comb at that time, but it also seemed that there wasn't much brood to be found. Today, every bar has brood on it, as well as capped honey. I saw no drone comb at all. The bees also don't seem to be building much in the way of new comb. While I'm slightly concerned about their honey stores and wondering if I need to start feeding the harvested honey back, I'm happy to see a much stronger brood pattern. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the comb is now all straightened out.
Liz should be coming back in the next couple of weeks, so I look forward to being able to ask her about these things. My gut feeling says that all is as should be in the hive now, but I want to make sure that my bees have what they need to make it through winter.
So I have learned in these past weeks from my bees, that sometimes you have to cut things away in order to set them right. It may be difficult and painful, but the result will be something better and healthier.
Here's to you, my bees, and to me... And most of all, to health.