So here’s the deal.
I’m a new beekeeper and have one 47” long top bar hive on a small urban lot near DC. The bees were started from a package at the end of March and have built out about 15 bars of comb (actually slightly more as some had to be sacrificed to deal with cross-combing issues). I stopped feeding any syrup about mid-May as there seemed to be plenty of foraging going on. The last time I saw the queen was during an inspection on 4/14. She had been out and was laying. During an inspection on 4/29 I saw 1 queen cell on one of the front top bars and in subsequent inspections I found 3 more. I left the cells alone as I have read that introduced queens are often immediately superceded. During an inspection on 5/19 I noted quite a bit of capped brood, C-shaped larvae, honey, but very little pollen. Again, I couldn’t locate a queen but did see that one of the queen cells was open on the end and another had been chewed from the side. The other two appeared to be untouched. This makes me think that a virgin queen hatched sometime around May 19th as she had emerged and dispatched the queen in one of the cells, but not yet reached all of them. I didn’t get back from vacation until Tuesday the 29th and decided to do an inspection when I got back. First thing I noticed was the bees got louder than usual when I smoked the entrance. When I opened the hive, it was just full of bees, they weren’t being aggressive though. I saw some brood that was actually in the process of hatching and saw a few tiny patches of capped drone brood and worker brood, but no eggs or larvae (admittedly I am still bad at recognizing the eggs). The wierd thing is, the hive was now suddenly PACKED with pollen…beebread actually as it was not dry, but covered with honey. The lack of brood is worrying me, but I’m wondering if the new queen just hasn’t started laying yet. If she hatched on the 19th, she should have been mated by now though (according to all the books anyway). Could she be honeybound? I moved a couple of bars up into the brood area in the hopes that if she is honeybound they would draw out new comb for her to lay in. I’m also worried because there wasn’t much coming and going at the hive entrance yesterday afternoon (mostly drones coming home and far fewer workers). Hoping someone out there can read the tea leaves and help me understand what is going on.
Glad I kept some notes,