I was helping my friend Larry with his bees the other day. He’s our neighbor up at the deluxe shed and the husband of Granny Sue. So he has bees and asked me to come take a look at his bees, offer some advice, and generally act like men. It was a good time and we had a lot of fun poking around in his bees to make sure things were ship-shape.
We looked over the bees and found some brand new wax that was the most beautiful yellow color! Fresh wax often ranges in color from white to bright yellow depending on what is blooming when they build it and what they drag in on their little feet as they walk across it . Eventually, all wax turns black or brown from traffic so it a real joy to see fresh yellow wax I think.
The best part though, is that the sun was just right and the color was just right and I was able to get some really cool pictures of honeybee eggs. Each hive has exactly one queen and she lays between 1000 and 2000 eggs per day during peak season. These eggs are not much bigger than a comma on a page and are very hard for many beekeepers to see.
A good queen will lay only one egg per cell and always in the bottom of the cell…close to the middle and never on the sides. A few times, I have seen a good queen lay multiple eggs in a single cell, but only when she is brand new and when first introduced to a colony. I suppose, with her typical laying rate, she gets backed up a little and has to get some eggs moving. Anyhow, a queen will always settle down and lay one egg per cell and rarely skips cells across an entire frame of honeycomb.
In a hive where the queen has died, one or more workers will take on the role of a queen, but because they were not raised properly as a queen, they never become fertile. Still, they will produce and lay eggs but their eggs are usually all over the place…often many to a cell and all over the sides. Their eggs will develop into male drone bees and signal the end of a hive if a new queen is not introduced.