Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Honey Dripper and Sundance

 The bees are busy doing what they do.
Both colonies are growing steadily. 
It's amazing how they have have markedly distinct personalities - 
not each individual bee, 
but each of the colonies as whole super-organisms.
We've named the hive on the left Honey Dripper: 
that colony is really packing away the honey.
The one on the right, Sundance. 
They got their name for the way they hang out, outside the hive, 
doing what I think looks like a sun worshiping shuffle.  
Sundance was originally the smaller colony; 
now they're pulling ahead in numbers. 
The queen cup that we found within Sundance hive sat empty for about a month - 
no activity to report on, until now.
During our most recent inspection we were astonished to find many more cups. 
Several of them had been further extended into queen cells.
 Some of those were about ready to be capped closed 
so that the larvae inside could finish developing.
Some were already capped.
And, others looked as if queens had already emerged from them.
Upon closer inspection we were unable to locate the reigning queen, 
or any signs that she was still present. 
There were no newly laid eggs, 
or larvae in the primary stages of development.
The few larvae that we did see were ready to be enclosed within the cells for metamorphosis. 
Soon all of the remaining brood will hatch,
 and the adult bees will continue to die off at their usual rate 
leaving the colony to start diminishing in number.

We are confident that some newly hatched virgin queens 
had already set out on their mating flights,
and are now back within the hive establishing, 
as the bees do, 
which of them will be the new queen.