I came across this interesting picture of laying workers on fresh comb from earlier this year. Bees working on foundation sometimes build comb and attempt to raise brood despite the futility of the effort (without some kind of intervention to sustain the hive anyway). I’m very accustomed to the appearance of raised caps on worker cells in the case of infertile eggs deposited into the wrong cells, but the perspective on this shot is pretty cool. I think a customer sent it to me when asking for advice.
Back on the homefront amid winter preparations, the fall bees look pretty good overall. Most of the entrance blocks are in the hives, though we still need to slide on the winter cartons in a couple of weeks. Populations and mite levels are generally encouraging at present. This picture is one of the rare Italian hives in the Lynnville system. They tend toward large winter clusters (and massive food consumption) when healthy. Despite the challenges of wintering Italians in our environment, they are very pretty!
Now we hope they don’t burn all of their food stores and show up starved in March/April. Piling on division board feedings back-to-back within several days can help cram their brood cells with food and deprive them of as much brood-rearing opportunity. Slow prolonged feeding often just nurtures unneeded big brood nests deeper into the winter.