Monday, June 29, 2009

Venting Top Box - for Summer

I finished building a venting top box for both hives. It is 2.5 inches deep with 3 holes on each side but the back. Each hole is 1.25 inches in width. I used the same gauge screen used on screened bottom boards. I'm not worried about rain since the telescoping cover covers most of the vent holes (still there's enough of a gap for passive air circulation). It's my hope that this will cool the hives and prevent moisture build up.

My next step will be to build a screened bottom board for each hive. I'm still considering what features it will have. Boards with the tray for checking Varroa mites don't seem to vent as well as the boards without the extra tray. Maybe a taller board with side vents below the screen will do. I'll figure it out.

Also new is the use of sugar spray for inspections. I tried it tonight when looking at each hive. It did not work very well by itself. When sprayed the girls stayed where they were and began to lick up the sugar. What I wanted them to do was move further into the hive & relax. Even Mary had several bees get angry and come looking for me. She's always a calm hive but it's late in the year. SO, I added smoke to the sugar spray; a sort of double whammy. The combo worked very well as expected. The bees moved away from the work area then stayed there to clean off the sugar. This rates well with me and I will continue the practice.

Did I say I was in the hives? I checked to see if the bees were drawing out any of the honey frames now that the excluder was gone. Answer is NO. Linda, the lady from the last post, seemed convinced that the Plasticell was the problem. She also stressed that once the girls refuse a frame it's over and they'll never take it. She highly recommended that I scrap the plasticell and revert to wax & wire. So this is my last trick. I put the honey suppers between the brood boxes. I hope this will compel the girls to draw out the comb. All the deep frames I've put into the brood boxes with Plasticell have been drawn out successfully. So I hope they will get confused and draw out these too. I'll let you know.

Oddly they were making bur comb sideways on top of the brood boxes. Go figure.

I'm still excited about the up coming club meeting. I'll meet so many keepers at once plus all the questions I have. I'll likely chatter like an idiot until they just plain run from me. I should make up a list of questions and rank them. The meeting lasts an hour & a half so if I can get 10 answered I'll be doing good. Can't wait...

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