May 19, 2009
Since we provided our package bees with combs, our queen was able to start laying eggs the very day she was hived. She probably started slowly, maybe a few dozen the first day. Then a hundred. Then more and more each day. A good queen can lay more than a thousand eggs a day! The more combs the workers can build for her, the more she can lay.
However, they seem to be content with the first 10 bars for the brood nest. The newest combs have been allocated to honey storage. There's been a slight slowdown in construction, but there is a new comb about 6" deep on the 13th bar, and they've been measuring Bars 14-15 for a few days. The slowdown is attributable to the original package bees being mostly gone now, and the new bees just becoming mature enough to produce wax. Since there's plenty of brood comb, the queen can continue to lay uninterrupted, but this could affect the colony's honey-storing capacity.
To be honest, I'd really enjoy a honey crop this year. We're just about out of the honey we harvested from last year's bees, and it works way better than Claritin. Here's What's Blooming in our backyard that might be causing all the sneezing:
Late Lilac (Syringa villosa)
Purple Sage (Salvia nemorosa 'Mainacht') – this intensely purple perennial will bloom all the way into late Summer!
Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea)
Columbine (Aquilegia 'McKana's Giant')
Silver Edged Horehound (Marrubium rotundiolia)
Elsewhere in the 'hood:
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
Vanhoutte Spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei)
Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Mountain Bluet (Centaurea montana)
Yellow Iceplant (Delosperma nubigenum)