Oct 01 2017

Blue hive inspection Sept 29

So last Friday, around 10:15am I got around to inspecting the blue hive. It was sunny and about 61 degrees when I went outside and the girls were out flying about.

Blue Hive – Queen Hjemmelaget

Queen Hjemmelaget, pretty and golden and slim

Queen Hjemmelaget, pretty and golden and slim

I got everything ready, took 2 sorting boxes out to the hive and got the smoker going, and knocked on the front door and the under the lid.

The girls were busy, again a little “fall” anxious – not stinging but a little protective, zooming out to see who was under that veil and what they were doing in their hive. I spent as little time as possible so I wouldn’t open their hive to robbing.

There were 17 frames full of nectar and 5 heavy frames of pollen. There were 8 frames of bees, 2 frames with open brood and 1 frame with capped brood. I found Queen Hjemmelaget in the 2nd box 1 frame from the left.

I went ahead and moved her to the bottom, and put the other frames with brood down there with her, along with some pollen. She has an expansion box on top of her and I moved a basically empty box on top of the 2 honey boxes so they have nectar/honey closer down on top of the brood.

I did find in this hive a little bee just trying to hatch out. When I first saw it, there was just a tiny hole in the capping and a little antenna sticking out and wiggling around. By the time I got a glove off and my Iphone out, she had chewed around and around and made a bigger hole and was trying to wiggle her way out of her cell.  I’m sure she got out eventually. This video shows her struggling to get out and one girl after another walking all over the top of her until she decides to go back in her cell and wait out the traffic.

I went over to the bee supply place on Saturday morning and talked to The Wiz and one of the other guys and showed them pictures of Hjemmelaget and fat Sleipe.  He said Hjemmelaget was just a beauty and even though she looks Italian, he’s sure she’s not because there is not an Italian hive within miles of us. He said he bets that if I look next spring, she’ll have a developed a dark tail end on her, which means she is partially caucasian.

Then he looked at Queen Sleipe and said she was fantastic – very huge and she was a “tiger” queen.  That means she is basically 85% caucasian and 15% Carniolan.  This hive started with Queen Innfødt last year, who was one of the local Mt Spokane caucasian bees that I bought. Then during the drought/heat wave/smoke, she left the hive and they made their own queen – making Queen Sleipe.  So Innfødt had strong enough genes that her eggs made a queen that mated with a Carniolan and created a “tiger” queen.

That means I have a truly local caucasian “tiger” queen, which is a 4th generation local queen now in hive. This is what I really want. Caucasian bees are what are known as “old world” bees – originating from the Caucasus mountains in Russia. They winter over well and were bred and developed by the WSU bee breeding program with the USDA to try to reintroduce more diversity and strength for over-wintering from old world populations.

Yeaaaa girls! So from now on, if I have to buy a queen, I’m going to try to continue to buy Mt Spokane bees so I can keep this caucasian strain alive and well in my hives.


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