Monday, May 18, 2009
Swarm cell inspection
Last Saturday, we had our bee class. We talked about swarming, how to recognize the types of swarm cells and what to do about them. Then we went out to the field and examined several hives. Since it was so cold, in the mid-50's, Bob showed us a method of examining them that did not require pulling frames out, thus exposing the bees and larvae to the cool air. He tilted the hive bodies, looking first at the top of the frames to see how many are filled with bees and then doing the same from the bottom. Also on the bottom, we could see if there were any swarm cells drooping down. He showed how to destroy the cells, which were empty, by just using the hive tool to slice them off. We also discussed this particular variety of bee which we all purchased and their tendency to draw comb out in some irregular manners, with a lot of burr comb.
We got home rather late since we had a graduation party to attend, so decided to check our bees on Sunday. It was warmer and less windy, much more conducive to doing this. We only found one bona fide swarm cell though there was additional comb drawn out on the bottoms of frames and between some frames. The bees seemed to be getting a little restless, so we added the rest of our antibiotic for American foul brood disease prevention and closed the hive. On a warm day later in the week, we will open and clean up some frames a bit better. It doesn't look like we will need to add a new hive body yet but probably soon, since the new bees should begin to hatch out this week.