Two weeks since our last inspection means that we must check the hive! Currently, it has two brood boxes (the boxes used for raising new bees), and no honey supers. We started our inspection by observing the bees coming in and out. Many had pollen, and a lot were flying around. We smoked around the hive and lifted the two covers. The top brood box did not have very many full frames, just two or three, which is to be expected because of the cold and rainy weather all week. However, the bottom brood box had all but one frame filled with larva, nectar and pollen. We spotted the queen, and overall the hive looked very healthy. Most of the capped honey that we saw during the last inspection had been eaten, but this is because the bees needed something to eat during the cold days. One of the frames in the lower brood box had a "supersedure cell". This is a cell made out of honeycomb that is used to hatch a queen. Because of the larger size of a queen, the cell is built off of the frame and is much larger than any other cell. Seeing a supersedure cell means that the original queen was replaced and the bees hatched their own queen. These cells look very similar to swarm cells, but are built on a different part of the frame and have a slightly different shape. One out of nine times, the package bees will replace the original queen with a new, younger queen. This isn't necessarily good or bad, because the bees took care of it themselves. In two more weeks, we will check the hive again. By then, the second super should be almost full and we should see many full frames of brood. It may even be time to add a honey super!
Looking at full frame from original super.
Photo showing sepersedure cell. Notice it is a dome built off of the honeycomb.