I spent this afternoon helping my friend Chris with his bees on his farm in Rushford, Minnesota. Chris had a slight and embarrassing accident with the new queens he purchased yesterday at B and B Honey Farm in Houston, Minnesota. He went back to purchase some new ones today and place them in the splits he made from two of his hives. He did have to take a little teasing from the staff at B and B. Chris successfully placed queens in two of his eight.
We went on to inspect the other six hives. Two of those contained the queens from last year's package. They were active and seemed healthy, though Chris took the advice of a local beekeeper and treated them both with formic acid. They had not been treated before.
The other 4 hives contained newly hived packages purchased two weeks ago. We saw the marked queens in each, and the drawing of comb on at least 4 frames in each hive. The really interesting thing was to see the color of this drawn comb. Chris' bees have been foraging on wild mustard all throughout his farm, and the comb reflects this foraging; it is bright yellow in color.
One concern was the appearance of a good number of dead bees in front of the entrance to one hive. These dead bees had their probosces extended, possibly indicating poisoning. This is a mystery. Where does the poison come from?