I inspected the hive again last weekend and am pleased with how they are progressing. I discovered when reviewing the video that my bee suit was partially unzipped the entire time. Yikes! How did I miss this?! How did I not notice this when I took off my suit? Thank goodness the bees also missed this oversight.

The middle super was so full, mostly with capped and uncapped honey, that I could barely lift it. The bees have also decided to make a lot of drones in that section; I’m not exactly sure why, particularly after what I witnessed last night when I watched a worker hauling her still living and much larger brother out of the hive on his back, pulling him by his legs. I have read that the male drones are permitted to stay as long as there are sufficient resources, and what I had seen the prior week indicated that there should be plenty of pollen and nectar for all to share. Still, I was impressed by her tenacity.

I found the queen rather quickly. I recently bought and started reading, Queenspotting, authored by a local beekeeper, Hilary Kearney with Girl Next Door Honey; I think it’s improving my search image. The book has some lovely stories about beekeeping and several “Where’s Waldo” type pages where the goal is to locate the queen. I powdered the bees with sugar to encourage them to clean themselves, which removes Varroa mites in the process. Next time, I plan to count the mites with the sugar roll method again, using a finer gauge wire mesh in the lid that I hope will be more effective.

The weather finally shifted last week and it’s warm enough to wear a t-shirt during the day. The citrus trees are magnificently in bloom; the evening air is heavy with their perfume that I can smell from a couple houses away. The native lilacs glow with their brilliant, purple blooms, and the earliest sages are blossoming. Nectar and pollen sources seem plentiful.

The kingbirds have also located my hive and perch on various trees, garden posts, and tomato cages when resting between contentedly picking off bees as they come and go from their foraging. I don’t begrudge them the snacks; they are grassland birds in an area where grasslands have been largely eliminated. At first, they stopped by daily, and I started to tell time by the sound of their characteristic call near my own lunchtime. Now they only stop by briefly, and not every day. Perhaps they know better than to clear out the entire supply all at once, or maybe one can only eat so many bees.

So now it seems I wait. I keep expecting the top super to have more development, but it has yet to occur. I think I am just impatient. Perhaps next week will be the big week when I open the top to see the pearly, fresh comb peeking out just below the top frame bar.