Monday, July 9, 2012

Honey Bound

It's been too damn hot to even think of opening the hives until the heat broke Sunday.  I've been anxious to open up the hives and see what is going on, especially after reading this post from Jim, in Stillwater, Minnesota, from his blog What Should I Be Doing With My Bees This Month?
I wanted to make sure my bees weren't showing the same type of crud he has been experiencing.  Kathy has been concerned about hive #2, since they just weren't showing the type of activity (i.e. bearding in masses) we were seeing at the other hive.  I also wanted to see what kind of progress they're making with the honey, and additionally take a frame of young larva to put again into the nuc to try to get a queen going there.
Seeing some heavy bearding lately (hive #1)


That was the plan, anyway.  First, the local weatherman (do they collect their paychecks without guilt or remorse???) blew it again.  According to his forecast, it  was supposed to be very mild, with highs in the afternoon only in the low 80's.  Of course, it made it into the low 90's, unbeknownst to me, with most of that heat gain occurring while I'm trying to work with about 60,000 bees wearing my bee outfit.  I should have taken off my glasses before working, since sweat was soon almost totally obscuring my vision. 

I started with hive #2, the one we were concerned about, and soon discovered that not only were they filling out both medium supers quite nicely, they were also packing nectar into every available space in the brood section.  My queen, which was laying so nicely in early June, was nowhere to be seen and there was no evidence of even any capped brood.  No queen, or else she was laying back taking it easy.  So, I pulled a couple of frames that were in poor shape and put in a couple frames with foundation, leaving a space for a frame from the other hive.  One bee got me on the front of my right ankle, through the sock.  I tuck my cuffs into my socks but she got me anyway.  As usual, I first notice a slow but soon becoming more intense warmth in the area, followed by some brief aching.  Nothing like accidentally brushing up against my solar electric fence.

Hive #1 was also doing well in the honey dept.  I could barely lift the super just above the queen excluder off the hive.  Nothing to do with those frames except cure the honey and cap it.  Looking into the top of the brood boxes, I did see nice capped brood and some very young larva, at only maybe 4 or 5 days (one or two days after hatching).  I took a good frame from this hive and put it in the other.  I picked up my second sting of the day, this time on the back of my left ankles. These girls have an ankle fetish!

I put the hives back together.  I definitely need to put a third super on hive #1 but I need to put some frames together tomorrow.  My plan is to see if they can make a queen from the frame I gave them.  If not, I'll either split them after we take the honey in August or September or, if the numbers are down too far in #2, just do a combine for the winter and then split in the spring.  I'll probably just order two new queens then.  Unless one queen is doing well, them maybe do a split.  We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Don't feel bad about the stings, Kathy! I got stung on my left ankle a week ago and it was the worst I've had in years. It took a week to calm down. I think the girls knew it would make me leave the bee yard. Darn it...they were right! :)

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