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Showing posts from July, 2010

Switched frames

Well, we switched the frames this morning.  I couldn't believe how many bees were in hive #2.  They certainly seemed a bit more upset at our interventions than the bees in hive #1, but though the air was filled with bees, no stings.  The comb drawn out in hive #2 was a mess--all over the place.  We tried cleaning up things a bit as we went, but since our main objective was to take frames with larva into hive #1, we didn't want to linger too long.  We were about an hour from start to finish as it was.  Fortunately, it was warm but not as hot today as some days have been recently.  My only concern is not seeing eggs on the 2 frames we moved, though there was some very young larva, so I think they will do for making a new queen, if indeed a new one is needed.  Keeping fingers crossed.

Your majesty.....Your Majesty???

Hmmmm, not good.  We have observed our first hive (hive #1), has not looked as vigorous in recent days as the newer hive (#2), so we decided to open up today and take a look.  We didn't like what we saw.  Well, some of it was ok I guess.  There was honey--lots and lots of honey--in fact the super we plan to extract in a couple weeks probably weighs well over 50 pounds--but no eggs, no larva, no capped brood.  And, for all we could tell, and we looked at every frame, no queen.  We did find several swarm cells, all empty, and one supercedure cell, also empty.  I couldn't tell, and not sure if I know how to tell, if the supercedure cell has been occupied.
There were also bees, thousands of them, and they are well-stocked for winter already.  We examined everything, switched out some frames so we could give them more space in the brood chamber in case a queen is lurking around somewhere and we just could not find her, and closed it up.
I got on the internet and started looking f…

Getting ready for extraction

The day will soon be approaching when we do our first honey extraction.  I mentioned we had borrowed an extractor from some friends, Jim and Beth Peterson.  It is an old extractor and although we cleaned up the flaky rust and gave it a good scrubbing, I still was a bit concerned about the screens in the device being galvanized.  Although use of galvanized metal, which is a zinc coating on iron to prevent rust, was used fairly commonly in the past on cooking utensils and other food preparation tools, today we know the potential hazards of using such items.  The U.S. army used to line up soldiers to watch atom bomb blasts, too.  Not a good idea.
Fortunately, Kathy found a product which may help us out a lot.  It is a clear-coat epoxy called Camcoat, available through many beekeeping supply places.  It is a very hard, clear epoxy coating, applied with brush or spray, that is food-safe and can be used to coat  metal surfaces, including those with a galvanized finish.  In the message board…