So I got started with Bees last year and had a blast learning and watching them.  I didn't get any honey but I still enjoyed it.  However, the winter was so long and very cold and the bees didn't make it.  I was really torn whether to try again or just move on with all that I have going on.  Well, an opportunity arose for me to get a couple more hives started and so I dove back into it head first.  I've had the bees for a little over a month now and already have emergency queen cells on one of the frames.  This is one of those moments where I doubt my knowledge a bit but I will press on and continue to research and hope for the best.  :)  After attending to my hives this morning I decided to take a helper (my youngest daughter) back out with me and take some pix.  I have a wonderful friend who I met last year and he helped me set up my first hive and helped me split the hive into two.  And so I'm hoping by taking pix he can help me decide if I should let nature take it's course or if I should intervene. 

Okay here is a breakdown of what you are looking at...the above photo shows the top view of the frames.  Each hive body(the actual box) hold 10 frames (where the comb is held)
This i what a frame holds.  :)  My brave daughter was a little worried but she hung in there and held the frames for me so I could take some pix.

This frame has 5 emergency queen cells on it.  4 of which are already capped.  Okay what does that mean?  Basically what happens is every hive has only 1 queen and if that queen gets sick or died for any reason the worker bees (also female) will start making a larger cell in the frame that they will feed and make into a new queen.  When they close it off the process is complete and the queen egg just has to grow.  Now some of you might be thinking, if there is only 1 queen per hive why are there 5 queen cells????????   Well I think they might do this as a back up plan,  their survival depends on the queen so they over do it to make sure they provide what is needed.  However if all of the queens make it out then we have a few things to think about.......One the strongest might take out the others (this is what I'm hoping for).  If one queen hatches before the others she will go around and destroy the other cells and all that is in them.  My fear is they will split and I might loose part of my hive.  :(  I would not be happy about this.

Here are some closer looks at the comb.
By looking at this photo you can see the queen cell is very large.  You also see that there is a drone (male) cell right next to it I know its a drone cell because its domed up, if it was a worker bee cell then it would be flat on top.  In the photo you will see that there are many small bees those are the worker bees (female) and one larger bee with big eyes that is a drone (male)  The drones one purpose in the hive is to mate the queen.  Once they've mated the queen they die.  What a life right?  But that is their purpose.  You can see some baby larvae in the cells at the bottom of the pix.  The queen hasn't been gone too long for sure.  Those larvae are a few days old.  You can also see a couple cells with honey in them as well.

  They are a bit blurry but in this photo you can see how flat most of the cells are.  When you look at the frames they are mostly filled with these flat cells which is good.  It takes way more workers to make the hive run than it does drones.  This is another close up of one more of the queen cells.
Now here is a good look at a pretty healthy hive.   Things you could observe from this frame.  There are a very good amount of capped brood (worker bee cells closed off)  And a good amount of capped drone cells.  Also near the bottom you will notice there are 4 more queen cells.  On a normal day these queen cells would alert me that the hive is outgrowing its hive and they are preparing to swarm which means the hive is crowded and they are wishing to split the hive sending a new queen off with a lot of workers.  I know the difference between the queen cells because of their placement.  When they are built in the middle of the frame they are considered emergency queen cells and you know the queen is sick or dead, and when the queen cells are built on the bottom of the frame you know they are crowded and are seeking for more space.  When you hear of people finding a swarm of bees in their yard this is why.  They only leave their home permanently for this reason.    This is why I'm a bit concerned because I'm not sure what to expect,  will they get two new queens and split the hive or will the strongest queen wipe out the others.  eeeek.  I don't like having to make these decisions.  I think I will take it upon myself and get ride of these 4 queen cells.  And let the others kill each other off.  :)  I'll keep you posted.
  I do love bee keeping.  I'm having so much fun learning and watching these bees.  Hope you have learned somethings and maybe even inspired to start an adventure like this of you own. 

Here is me at the end.  Today I didn't get stung but those bees were a little angry toward the end of my exploration of their hive.  HaHa  They stayed around my hat for a long time making sure I knew they were a bit ticked off. 

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