Two weeks since the last inspection means time for another! Normally the inspections would take place on Saturdays, but the weekend was forecasted to be rainy and gloomy.
As usual, we started by observing the bees flying around the hive. We saw an abundance of light yellow colored pollen, as well as some dark orange pollen. With the smoker lit, we opened up the hive! Just from looking from the top, we could see that the bees had nicely moved into the top brood box. In this box we saw fresh eggs (signaling that the queen was recently on that frame), pollen and capped brood! We also saw a new swarm cell and the supersedure cell that we saw last week. In the second brood box, we saw filled frames, small amounts of capped honey, and lots and lots of capped brood. This signals that the queen was in the second brood box because any capped brood was laid about 15 days ago.
SWARM CELLS: Swarm cells are used for,well... swarming. The bees were planning on laying a new queen, not to replace the old queen, but to split the hive and create more bees. The swarm cell that we saw had not yet been laid in, so we can expect a swarm in a couple of weeks. Sometimes, the bees build swarm cells just to have ready in the spring. Swarming is a good thing for the colony. It means that they are busy and quickly multiplying. However, during the first year of beekeeping, it is better not to have a swarm because it almost guarantees NO honey the first year.
SUPERSEDURE CELLS: Supersedure cells are used just for replacing the old queen. Since we saw this cell during the last hive inspection, this cell was probably just built to have ready for when they replace the queen.
Because of the abundance of swarm cells and the fact that only three frames had not been used yet, we decided to go ahead and add our first honey super! Before adding another super, we put a queen excluder on top of the two brood box. This insures that the queen can't lay eggs in the new honey super.Since the queen is larger than the rest of the workers, she can't fit through the excluder and is forced to stay in the brood boxes. Hopefully, in about 4-5 weeks, we should almost have a full honey super.