Capped Drone Cells???
So this past Sunday I completed my inspections on my last three hives. They are loaded with bees and brood, I have come to be a believer of annual queen replacements especially for your so-so hives, obviously I would keep my proven breeders. Anyway, in these three hives I saw tons of brood, but what surprised me was the amount of capped drone brood! Technically I could start grafting although I am going to hold off for a few more weeks for more certainty on warmer weather. So keep your eyes open for upcoming swarm cells. I have a feeling with this warm weather, unusual long flying days, tons of pollen, etc coming in swarm season will be early this year especially if the weather continues like it has been!!!
I also wanted to mention that I combined two hives this weekend, one with tons of resources (bees) but queenless and the other with a laying queen but low on resources (bees) so she couldn’t lay anymore than what she was doing, a queen will only lay eggs up to what her workers can tend to. So I decided to combine the two hives using two sheets of newspaper. I will keep my fingers crossed. With the increased number of bees the queen should be able to ramp up and hopefully catch with the others because she is a long ways behind.
All other strong hives received entire deep boxes of drawn comb to help any swarming instinct they might have. I was going to Checkerboard but I was a week late it seems since they all had brood in the top and bottom boxes so checker boarding them would have broken the brood nest up risking chilling brood. So I figured having that dark empty brood comb above them might entice them to continue to expand the brood nest and not contract it and swarm… we shall see it worked last year.