Spring Queens

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When we return from the Almond Crops in Sacramento Valley we immediately concentrate on hive management. We test for mites and other aliments immediately. But the largest challenge we have is splitting our hives to avoid crazy swarms in the yard.

We are firm believers in graphing and growing our own queens. However, this can be problematic when you need 300 – 400 new queen cells to place into walk away splits. A walk away split is simply taking the top hive body off the hive and placing it adjacent to the bottom portion of the hive. Once this is completed, we begin a quick assessment of the hive and ensure that a queen is not in the hive section we place a queen cell in. Our entire yard is mapped with a Bee Yard Management Book. This way we know what and when of the hive activity. It is all recorded on all the actions made to that hive body. We also record it on the top lid. Rain and or early snow and erase those key notes so hence the ‘yard log book’.

Below can you find the queen in this picture. She is a healthy new fertile queen. Ready to begin a new colony and strong hive.

A queen can wait up to 24 days from the time she immerges and completes here mating flight before she will begin to lay eggs. In the meantime the worker bees work frantically to build out comb and establish stores of honey/nectar and pollen in the surrounding out lying comb. The queen then lays the eggs and establishes a ‘brood pattern’ to each frame.


We will feed, treat for mites and watch the hive progression as we watch the brood increase and the hive prepare to receive a second box or hive body. Once we have the hive strong we then will transport them to their summer spring yard where the nectar flows heavy and the hive can begin to add significant stores of ‘sainfoin honey’. But that is another quick story I will talk about later. Here is some footage of a queen quietly working and selecting open comb to lay her eggs.

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