Showing posts from June, 2013

Progress Check

Since it has been about 9 days since I last looked at the bees, I thought it was time to see how they were doing drawing out new comb and bringing in nectar.  In both respects, things are looking like they are making adequate progress.
I spent the most time in the new 8 frame hive, #3.  I still cannot find the queen, though I've looked very thoroughly 4 times now.  All I can think is she must be pretty small.  She is a laying machine, though, as there were 3 frames solidly full on both sides in the middle of 3 boxes, with many other frames having some capped and uncapped larva as well as numerous eggs.  The eggs are looking better centered.  I posted a question about this on and the feedback basically indicated not to worry, as long as she is laying a good pattern I shouldn't be concerned.

With the recent heat and humidity, the bees have been washboarding on hives #1 and #2.  It's fascinating to watch.  If you haven't seen it, this is a great video showin…

All Things Blooming

Floods, tornadoes, lightning storms aside, it's been a pretty remarkable spring--particularly regarding fruit, of which we try to grow a variety.  That is part of the reason we decided to get bees in the first place, to assist in the pollination of all the things we try to grow.  We've been surprised both at some of the plants  bees choose to "work" and some they do not seem to work.  As I went out to check the hives to see if I needed to add boxes, switch frames out, and just see how they are laying, I took some photos of some of our plants.
On the way out back, I passed the first prairie.  Spiderwort is a dominant plant right now and the prairie is full of it.  The flowers open in the daytime and close at night.  Bees don't seem too attracted, unfortunately.
These lovelies grow along our garden shed.  Again, no bees.  They don't like blue?  It seems I've read about colors and bees before and will have to check that out again.  One upside to starting to …

All Hives Queen Right

Computing the time it would take for worker bee larva to be capped, I decided today would be a good day to look at my hive #3, the 8 framer.  Temperature right around 80, lower humidity, clear skies and gentle breeze--nice day to look at the bees. 
First, in the top box, I found a number of frames with eggs.  Many did not seem to be planted right in the center of the cell, which continued to bother me.  I saw no capped cells or even older larva in the top box.  Right away looking in the bottom box, however, I found frames with good looking patterns of capped worker cells.  Fantastic.  This must be a very shy queen, since I did not see her again but then once I satisfied myself that I had a laying queen, not laying workers, I put the hive back together and closed her up.

It's a bit hard to see with so many bees covering the cells, but the center of each frame was solidly filled with capped worker cells.  I did not see any new drone cells.
Then I looked at the hive which I expanded …

New Hive

I moved the bees from hive #3 into their new home this afternoon.  For now, I put them into two medium supers of the 8 frame hive.  It will be interesting to see how this does throughout the year, the winter in particular.  From what I've read, they should do no worse than my 10 frame hives.  Time will tell.

As I moved frames over, I noted quite a number of eggs.  Surprisingly, I saw no young larva.  The lighting was not the best, however, and many of the frames have newer, white wax so seeing small 1 or 2 day old larva would have been difficult.  I'll look again in several days when there should be some larger larva.  I again did not locate the queen. 
I then moved the frames from the nuc into one of the boxes I had just taken the frames out of to put in the 8 frame hive.  The queen had emerged, but I did not see her.  She should have emerged last Sunday, so I'll give them another week or so to see if there is a laying queen.  If not, I'll combine these bees with #3 a…

Queen Right! and other things

Whew.  Our near catastrophy at doing a direct release of the queen into the new hive seems to have been averted.  We introduced her last Thursday, 4 days ago, and weren't sure whether or not she made it into the hive.  We filled the rest of the medium super with frames and closed it up, hoping for the best.  Today, I opened the hive and noticed all the bees were clustered on one half of the hive.  I guessed, correctly, that if there was a queen and eggs or very young larva, that's where the bees would be concentrated.  I did not find the queen, but did find a good number of eggs, some sticking straight up, which would indicate one day old eggs and a number of 2 to 3 day old eggs laying on their side.  I looked carefully, since I couldn't locate the queen, to make sure they were centered in the cells and there were not multiple eggs in the cells.  It looks good, and I will look to see if they develop properly into worker cells in about a week.  Bees looked happy and busy an…