Queen Rita

As a new beekeeper I’m keeping a close watch on my hives as this is the busy season in the apiary.  Constant monitoring to be sure the hives are healthy, the queens are laying eggs, larva is visible, and that pollen and honey are evident, is necessary about once a week.  I’ve been nervous that a queen will accidentally blow away with the gusty, strong winds we’ve had in Texas, and there have plenty of those days.  It seems once a week and only once we are blessed with a calm day.  This week that was on Thursday.  I suited up and fired up my smoker as I had a mission to carry out on this one perfect day.

Mr. Floyd, ever striving to turn me into a “respectable” beekeeper made me some special frames filled with pure beeswax foundation to give me an opportunity to make cut comb honey.  These needed to be placed in the newest supers on my hives.  Not only am I excited about the prospect of bottling honey but now I can try my hand at cut comb honey.  I’ve heard it is the most delicious way to enjoy honey.  Never having had the chance to try cut comb honey and knowing that I’ll first try it our of my own hives is a thrill.  Yeah, I know, it doesn’t take much to get me adrenalized.

Wanting to take full advantage of this glorious day I removed the top super from all four hives to investigate what was going on down inside.  I started with the Heidi Hive and was pleased to see everything going just as it should.  Heidi didn’t receive her name just because – no, she is shy and hides often.  On this day she earned her name by remaining invisible to me.  Satisfied with the Heidi hive I moved on to Hive Miracle.  Upon examination of the first two frames I saw brood, larva, honey and Queen Miracle herself poked her head out to say, “hi”.  Feeling pretty happy I proceeded to hive Rita.  The first frame I removed had beautiful packed pollen along with brood, honey and larva.  I snapped a couple of photos, which you can view below and removed the next frame. Taking a look for more of the same I was rewarded with a visit by Queen Rita.  I snapped a couple of photos of her, being careful to keep the frame lowered down into the hive so as not to lose her.  Check out her photo below.  You can imagine that by now I was beaming from ear to ear with pleasure at the success my exams were proving.  On to hive #4, Queen April, named so as she came to me in the month of April.  Upon removal of the first frame I spotted her.  Ahhhh….welcome to bee keeping!  As I turned the frame to get a closer look a few drips of honey spotted the wooden frame tops in her hive.  I replaced the frame she was on and ran my finger over the fresh honey.  I had to take a taste by licking my finger through the netting of my hood, but I can not begin to tell you how fabulous it was.  I scraped the rest onto my hive tool and handed it to my adoring hubby for a taste.  Speechless – it tasted so fresh and delicious.

Thursday was a great day in the bee yard.  All four hives look healthy and are producing everything just as they should.  Seeing three out of four queens – priceless!!  I can only hope and pray that it will always be like this. Mr. Floyd warns me it won’t.  Meantime, I’ll languish in the satisfaction of  Thursdays greatness and continue on with my responsibility of beekeeper.  It’s a delightful and educational hobby and  I am so honored to be among the bees.

Stay tuned….

If you have the ability to zoom in on the photos you too will be able to see the uncapped brood, they look like  shiny white little worms in the bottoms of the cells.  Queen Rita is the bigger, brownish-orange bee in the last two photos.

Queen Rita - meter maidShe is the bigger, brownish-orange bee in the center