These photos are already out dating themselves on this farm:) Time has been going by way too quickly and while I take a ton of photos, I don’t have time to upload them. What we have been up to on the bee side of farming is trying to learn how to raise queens. In the photo above we were stealing brood in order to create a cell builder colony.
We split quite a few of the already established colonies this year in order to make 15 new hives. So far one hive did not make it. Time will tell how the others do. It has been and continues to be a great learning experience for our kids. The idea is to get good enough at this to not have to purchase queens or packages because it is expensive. It would be nice to eventually be able to sell locally, in Minnesota, queens, package bees and possibly hives ready to go. Again, we’ll see how that goes.
The girls chose the very best colony we have to steal eggs from for our queens; this hive is the mother colony. These bees are Minnesota Hygienics, and are very gentle, fairly disease and mite resistant, they don’t build burr comb and they are very productive honey producers. The photo below is of the mother colony and shows the girls removing the Nicot frame with eggs from our selected queen.
Each one of the brown cell cups (above) contains one tiny larvae. We chose to pull the cups and place them within the frame inside our vehicle in order to keep them from drying out or getting cold. All of this is time sensitive and is not exactly easy!
Next we covered the frame of larvae with a towel and rushed them over to the cell builder hive as seen in the photo below.
After hatching, the virgin queens are released into the new hives to be mated and hopefully start laying. They are located near our best hives in hopes that the good drones will do the mating! Below is a photo of an empty cell inside of a queen cage from which a queen emerged.
This was our third attempt at this Nicot method of queen rearing and we finally were able to call it a success! I’ll give a report on our next attemt as well, although I don’t think it will be this season:) Timing is probably the most important aspect of queen rearing and we hope to do much better on our next attempt! It’s every bit as exciting as opening a package on Christmas morning.
Below is a photo of a bad case of burr comb building in a hive. It is a very undesirable trait in honeybees. We took this today and thought you might like to see how it looks. The burr comb was immediately scraped off after the photo was taken.
Here is a photo of my grand daughter, Kallie Jo……….too cute not to share. Hope it will make my mom, (you Nonna) want to come out to see all of us soon!!! We all went to the Crystal Springs Rodeo and this was Kallie’s outfit. ISN’T SHE DARLING?