Felicity (hive on the left)
Came through the winter in one deep and one super, had enough honey still in the early Spring when we did our first check. She looked healthy with a lot of bees, but we neglected to pull any frames to check. In early April we did our first real health check and found that she had only capped brood, but no eggs or larvae. In mid-April, we checked again and she had no brood at all! We gave her a frame with eggs and larva on April 11 from Galaxia so that she could build a supercedure/emergency queen.
Sistine (hive on the right)
Came through the winter in one deep, but was quite strong early on, so we added a second deep in early April. She had a wonderful brood nest and the queen was laying very well. By mid April we saw queen cups and we were expecting her to swarm.
We witnessed an amazing occurrence. On April 18th, as we were getting ready to open Felicity to check if she was in the process of raising an emergency queen, Vivian noticed that something was going on. When we went to the entrances we saw that Sistine was in a ‘swarm mood’ with bees somewhat laxidazically following each other in a procession out of the hive. Some stopped in front and gathered together a little bit, but many more were walking from Sistine straight into Felicity without any fighting at all. We decided not to open the hives right away so that they could work it out and check again soon.
On April 20th, we had our Principles and Methods class with us as we went to the hives. When we opened Felicity, we saw a nice dark queen on the first frame that we pulled. Did she walk over from Sistine?! We continued to look into the cells, and on three consecutive frames we saw no developing larvae, no capped brood, only eggs! A fertile queen must have just arrived and begun laying!
Sure enough, Sistine broke her brood cycle next door and raised many new queens to replace the one that so generously moved next door to save Felicity.
What a blessing for us to bear witness to the tremendous wisdom that lives within the Great Bee.