Adopt-A-Hive: Quarterly Update
Quarter 2 - 2022
By Bear Country Bees
What a start to the season this year! Your adopted hive is doing superbly now that one of the toughest beekeeping winters is past us. The queen is laying at an incredibly productive pace which is a very good sign.
When a queen has a high production rate, it means that she is laying eggs far faster than her colony members are dying off (due to the natural attrition rate). The vast majority of worker bees don’t live beyond 30 days so the queen has got to be on top of her game.
If the worker bees determine that she is not laying productively enough, they can actually kill her and try to raise a new queen that can get the job done. A beekeeping best practice also dictates that underperforming queens are squished and replaced with a new queen. Talk about pressure!
But, as a beekeeper, how do you know if your queen is laying productively enough? It’s not an exact science and it can take some trial an error to gain a correct understanding. However, as you inspect hives (as you should do regularly), you can gauge how well she’s laying in context of the time of the season.
Did you know?
A typical worker bee only has an average life span of about 26 days? The term “busy bee” very accurately describes how hard these bees actually work. In fact, most worker bees continue foraging until their wings are too damaged for them to fly, ultimately leading to their deaths!
If she’s only filled up one side of one frame and its almost extraction season, she has not been nearly productive enough for the colony to have solid chances at survival. If, however, it’s only 1 month into production and she’s already filled up an entire frame with brood, this is a great sign of an extraordinarily productive queen. This is exactly what your queen has done so far this year!
To showcase just how well she’s done, we recorded a quick video to go along with today’s update letter. In this video, we cover what the brood cells look like and how thoroughly the queen has filled in the available cells. As you can see in the video, this is one productive queen!
Over the course of the season, we’ll continue to monitor how your adopted queen lays her eggs. If she’s productive enough, it dramatically increases the likelihood that your adopted colony will survive the tough winters we have in Utah. Fingers crossed!
The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.
- Achim Steiner