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Showing posts from June, 2011

Supers, new comb

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I checked both hives today to see if they needed to have more supers added.  In hive #1, comb was drawn out and being filled on better than 80% of the frame space, so I did add a super there.  I also checked the condition of some of the comb on the several frames we have in that super that have just a strip at the top rather than foundation. As you can see in the photo, there is some lovely white comb getting filled with honey.
     Now, I was a bit surprised at the size of the cells.  My understanding was that the bees would naturally produce cells that are smaller than the standard cell size one gets with foundation.  I didn't measure these, but they certainly appear big to me.  Do they make cells different size when they want to store honey rather than brood?  At any rate, we'll look forward to having a bit of comb honey this year. One foundationless frame they had not begun to draw out at all yet.
     Hive #2, which just last week had a new laying queen, has only dr…

Fingers crossed

We did a very thorough search of hive #1 and found no queen, eggs, larva or any type of capped cell.  There continues to be a huge number of bees in this hive, which remains pretty well-behaved in spite of being queenless.  Two weeks ago, our inspection also showed no queen.  So, we added the queen from our nuc and hope for the best.  I debated using the newspaper separation method, but felt it was important to get her in and going ASAP.  In checking the nuc, we found no eggs.  We just released her from her cage two days ago, though, so I didn't really expect to find any.
We'll check again in a week or so.  Meanwhile, they have been drawing out comb in the super and, I imagine, putting nectar in the cells though my concern today wasn't checking that out.  I'll add a super to both hives later in the week.

Released

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We released the queen from her cage yesterday.  There was still quite a plug of candy in the end of the tube, and the bees seemed to be around her cage though not attacking it.  She wandered about a bit on top of the frames before crawling down into them.  Hopefully now she'll be able to get to work and in a few days we'll check the hive to see if it indeed needs a queen or not.  If not, then we'll just keep this little nuc going as a back-up.  Or give it to a friend who lost both hives this past winter.
One interesting part of this experience was hearing the queen piping.  I had seen it on videos, but had never heard it in person.  This queen was pretty vocal, and we heard her loud and clear a number of times. Very cool.

Re-Queening

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Our queen arrived in the mail Wednesday (this is Friday).  The post office called around 6:30 a.m. to tell us they had her and we could come pick her up.  I opened the package in front of the curious postal worker, who was wondering how anything could be alive in the package. She knew it contained something living because of the air holes in the envelope.  I pulled the container out and showed her the queen and her attending bees.  She asked if we planned to release them in our garden or something, but I explained she was to go in a beehive.
It was a drizzly morning, but more rain was in the forecast and we had a lot of things on our agenda, so we decided to go ahead and start the nuc.  We opened hive #1, first taking a look at the super which last week had shown little change.  We were happy to see that it was really filling out with fresh, white new comb and the comb was being filled with nectar.  I'll have to look at that again early next week and add a super if needed.
The to…

Queenright!

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It was time to check hive #2 for a queen and to see how well the super was being filled out.  As you can see above, there was good, normal activity on the hive apron, bees coming and going with orange pollen and likely nectar.  After the swarm, it took awhile for this hive to settle down but now has a good, busy normal look to it.

The super has been getting some attention, with several frames already at least half-filled with capped honey.  I was surprised at the number of drones flying around,  something I had noticed with this hive on the previous inspection.  Things were going pretty well until I had a frame slip out of my hands, the first time this has happened.  They seemed to settle down pretty quickly, though, and we proceeded to look deeper into the hive.

This was the third frame I pulled out of the top of our 3 brood-nest boxes.  If you click on the photo and zoom, you will see very young larva and even a couple eggs.  We were very happy to see this, and I had a pretty good no…

Queenless!

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We just got back from a fishing trip to N. Minnesota.  It has been just under a month since the first swarm on hive two.  Before we left, we had placed a honey super on each hive and so decided to check to see how they were filling out and to make sure we had a queen in the hive that swarmed.
Bad news.  We searched the entire hive and found no eggs, no larva, and not even any capped brood.  Lots of bees, though, and they have been busy filling out the super I put on awhile back.  I saw them this morning even bringing in pollen, which I have been told is a sign of brood in the hive that needs to be fed.  We did find a couple supercedure cells that appeared to be occupied, so we are hoping that one queen at least will emerge.  Since the hive is almost packed solid with honey, we removed some frames and replaced them with fresh, empty foundation hoping the queen will have a place to begin to lay once she emerges and returns from her mating flight.
     In the meantime, or just in c…