Hive Check

I thought you might like to know how my hive check went today.

Early this morning, I opened the lid of the hive. I didn't take out any bars. (This is exactly what I did yesterday, not wanting to bug them so soon after getting in there Saturday.) When I lifted the lid, the first thing I noticed was ants. Maybe 10-12 ants strolling around, robbing the hive. This pissed me off, big time.

I literally piled heaps of diatomaceous earth around the legs of the hive. This will do a couple things, I hope: Interrupt the ant's travel patterns, and desiccate the ones who go through it regardless. If nothing else, it will deter new ants from climbing in to the hive. A strong hive should be able to survive an attack of ants, but my hive is already reeling from the wax moth attempt, so I thought I'd better help out as much as possible.

This may have been overkill.
I immediately vowed to come back this afternoon and truly open the hive and take out all the bars. (Afternoon is the best time to open a hive, when it's warm, and most of the bees are out foraging.)

I've just come in from doing that, and I'm happy to say I saw absolutely no evidence of wax moths. Or ants. Hallelujah!!!! I am so incredibly relieved. The bees are working normally, there is brood, honey, nectar, and pollen, there is new comb being built. I did not see the queen, and I only saw one drone (it's getting close to drone overthrow time anyway, so this doesn't worry me).

One thing that I did notice, and it's not good or bad, just interesting, is that there are three fairly well-developed queen cups being maintained. Queen cups are larger cells built to raise a new queen. Sometimes the bees make these 'just in case.' Sometimes they make them because they are unhappy with the queen, and want to re-queen the colony. There is some debate about what the purpose is depending on where the cup is built on the comb. All three of the ones I saw today were in the middle of the comb, rather than the bottom. However! The comb is built a little funny because that's how this colony built it at first, in two swags rather than one, sort of attached in the middle.

Here you can see the two swags meeting in the middle, with the queen cup being built between them. Next to the queen cup is actually some drone larvae, you can tell because of the puffy tops (which kind of surprises me; it's a little late in the season to raise drones, I thought). But anyway, a lot of the comb in front of the hive was empty, not filled with eggs or larvae. So this could mean a couple of things. One, the queen has slowed down laying because we're getting towards the end of summer and therefore the end of resources. Two, the queen is injured or dead, and the hive is re-queening. Three, the hive is unhappy with the abilities of the current queen and is making a new one.

And I don't know which one. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, the hive is continuing to do it's work, and I see honeybees all over the flowers in the garden. Along with other critters, like these.

Some sort of native bee? I've got an email in to the Urban Bee Lab for ID.

Some sort of skipper?

The ubiquitous cucumber beetle, everywhere you look
I had my fair share of sleepless times over the weekend, thinking of the bees. But I am determined NOT TO WORRY anymore, and just see what happens. I've done what I can. I will open the hive again in two days. There is nothing gained by worrying!!! (Right?)