Time to meet the queens of 2013! Despite all the rain we have had, both queens managed find a chance to fly out and woo drones aplenty. Hive B2 (started in early May) has a plump, golden queen with a shiny black thorax. She seemed unperturbed by my poking around in her hive and went about her business checking empty cells, dipping her back end into them, and laying eggs.
The queen in hive A3 seems to have only just started laying eggs- no capped brood so far. She is thinner and faster than the queen in hive B2, with a black patch at the back of her abdomen.
Hive A2, overwintered from last year, got a quick once over to check for swarm cells. They were extremely and uncharacteristically antagonistic this afternoon. Perhaps they have some cabin fever after being stuck in the hive for days on end waiting for the rain to stop. Or perhaps a stinky skunk has harassed them during the night, and they are taking their frustrations out on me. Either way I got my second sting of the season on my middle finger.
They were way too cranky for me to go through the hive, so I flipped over the top box to check for swarms cells on the underside of the frames.
I found about seven queen cups under there- none of which looked like the bees were committing to swarming anytime soon. (I hope!)