July 01, 2009

What's Blooming in July

The workers definitely started the supersedure before kicking out their mother. All but one of the replacement queens emerged on June 26, eleven days after we found our expired package queen. We worried that the replacements would emerge one by one and swarm, and swarm and swarm. But the colony still has strong numbers, so even the last of the queens, which was uncapped yesterday, didn't leave with half our bees.

We chased Marty down at Delaney, and he said that the first queen probably "pierced" the other queens, and that's why the cells are being torn apart by the workers. All that's left is the base of each. They look like play cups now. (BTW, we hadn't realized that Marty had just finished his hive inspections, and his bees were all riled up. I got my first sting ever from one of his Goldstar girls!)

We have to wait a bit before going into our hive to look for eggs or open brood – signs that the winning queen found the Drone Congregation Area and mated successfully. The 10 days after the new queen's emergence is critical, and she is not to be disturbed. She needs this time to dispatch her rivals, eat to gain strength to fly, and to find the DCA.

Meanwhile, the last generation of the former queen's sons and daughters just emerged. Here's what's Blooming in the Backyard for them:
Lavenders: 'Goodwin Creek' and 'Hidcote'
Catmints: 'Walkers Low' and (pet peeve) the one labeled simply 'Nepeta'
Gray Santolina
Beebalm 'Jacob Kline'
Maynight sage - after a ruthless deadheading, round 2 is more stout and more in line with the 'Rose Queen', popular with the Head-Bonkers but not our honeys.
Echinacea 'White Swan' and 'Magnus'
Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'
Black-Eyed Susan, supposedly 'Goldsturm' but I think Burpee pulled a fast one here – ours wilt unless watered copiously.
Gaillardias: 'Oranges and Lemons' and 'Arizona Sun'
Sedums: 'Goldmoss' and 'Dragon's Blood
'Thymes: 'Reiter', variegated and Lemon

Daylilies: roadside and 'Stella d'Oro'
Lamb's Ear – while they have a lovely scent, I'm not keen on the flowers. But the girls are, so they don't see the pruners much.
Penstemon strictus 'Rocky Mountain'
Liatris 'Kobold' and 'Alba'
Coreopsis 'Moonbeam'
Italian parsley and Greek oregano

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