A Healthy, Growing Hive …

Our inspection of the hive today was to see if the bees were making progress on building up their population. The starting population was about 10-12,000 bees (or 3 lbs); by mid-summer her majesty, the queen, and her loyal subjects should have increased the hive population to more than double that number.

Last week we saw that the queen was already busy building up her numbers through the laying of brood – future workers and drones (male bees for reproduction only). This week, many of the brood cells which were sealed last week have had their residents emerge. The worker then cleans up the cell they came from so it can be refilled with another egg. It takes 21 days for a worker egg to develop into a fully-functioning adult worker.

The worker bees are busy collecting pollen (high protein food). We often think of dandelions as pest plants in our yards, but it is obvious from the pollen-filled cells that the bees LOVE this bright yellow deliciousness. (In the video, note the bright yellow pollen sacks on the back legs of the returning workers).

It was imperative for our entomologist, Elly, to install our package of bees so early in the season because the orchard is in FULL bloom now. This mutually beneficial relationship will provide rewards for both the apple trees and the bees.

The Dow Gardens hive is a Langstroth variety which is comprise of supers (boxes) filled with frames of wax foundation for the bees to build upon. At this time, our hive has a single level with 10 frames for the bees to work in and is about 2/3rds full. Very soon, we will be able to add another super of frames.