A Tale of Two Hives

160514 20 HivesAlthough I finished yesterday with a somewhat aggressive Mars, I quite enjoyed checking my two new hives. One is a single-deep Langstroth split from Jupiter on April 11, in an attempt to keep the hive from swarming. The other is my new top bar hive created when Jupiter swarmed anyway on April 25. Here is an update on how they are faring.

Both hives are now laying (yay!) so they definitely deserve a name. As a split from Jupiter, one of Jupiter’s moons for the Langstroth hive seems appropriate. The top bar hive came from a swarm so a full planet seems proper.


160514 05 Saturn

Say hello to Saturn!

I captured my own swarm on April 25, and while some bees may  have returned to their original hive (Jupiter), a number of bees stayed to start a new home. I checked after two weeks on May 8 and there was no larva to be found.

As far as I knew, this was Jupiter’s first swarm, so I figured the mature queen would start laying eggs fairly quickly. Perhaps there was an initial swarm that I missed, and thus the new queen had to be mated; or perhaps the original queen was killed by bad beekeeping. Regardless, I was relieved to find larva and eggs on May 13, meaning the hive is up and buzzing along.

The hives seems to be gathering nectar nearly as fast as they can make wax. There are seven partially build combs, with larva on the outer edges as the center of most combs are filled with nectar or honey

The bees of Saturn are gathering nectar nearly as fast as they make wax. The larva shown here is on the outer edges of the comb, as the center of most combs are filled with nectar or honey.


160514 14 Gany FrameThis hive has been bursting with bees of late. The frames are fairly brood bound, with six frames of capped brood (both sides!) and the outer two frames filled with nectar (I have 8-frame boxes). Yesterday I saw at least three queen cups with larvae inside, so the hive was preparing to swarm.

I am somewhat out of equipment, so I decided to call my bee mentor Kristen from last year to ask if she wanted a Nuc. Her bees didn’t make it through the winter so she started over this spring with a single hive. She was happy with the prospect of more bees.

160514 12 Gany SplitWe did a one-for-me, one-for-you type of split, with every other frame going into a nuc. We couldn’t find the queen, so I kept the frame with the youngest brood in hopes the queen was there.

Ganymede now has three brood frames, one honey frame, and four foundation frames. The brood is together so the bees can keep it warm, as we are due for some cold weather this week. Hopefully the hive has plenty of work to do now and will give up on swarming for a while.


Ganymede after the split.

This is Ganymede, after the split.

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dicken’s classic tale of Paris and London inspires today’s title. The famous opening line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” seems especially appropriate given my inspections yesterday. Ganymede and Saturn went so well, while Mars did not.


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