There have been reports of Small Hive Beetle in the packages that many of us received back in April. My neighbor found one in her new hive and has since taken measures to control it. I went into the new hive today looking to see if I could find any; hoping I wouldn't. I went through each frame and didn't see any. But I missed the Queen as well, and she's marked, so I'll continue to watch for them.
The Hive top feeder was about at the empty mark. What little was left had a thin crystallized cap on it. I didn't get to it earlier this week due to a bout with the flu. Nothing too bad, just enough to keep me inside. I'll refill the HTF and monitor it better this time.
Only about a cup of syrup is left under a sheet of rock candy
The brood nest has grown at a modest rate. 3 undrawn frames remain while the rest are filled with brood, pollen, & honey. The first frames to have comb have a spotty brood pattern look to them. The latter drawn frames have a more contiguous pattern. I'm sure that's just an issue with cell availability at the beginning of the hive.
Check the bur comb on the Drone frame
- 1/2 drawn. Eggs, pollen, capped honey
- Fully drawn. Mostly brood, lots of eggs and larva. Pupae & Capped honey. *Odd comb structure (the sheet not a cell)
- Fully drawn. Eggs & pupae
- Fully drawn. Eggs & mostly pupae. Some drone cells maybe. hatching bees.
- Fully drawn. Pupae, capped honey, pollen
- Done Frame - Fully drawn. Patch of pupae, some capped honey. Mostly uncapped honey.
- 1/4 drawn. Capped honey.
Frame 5 where the Queen cage was hung
Above you can see a spotty brood pattern in the middle of the frame. That is where the Queen cage hung during installation. After which the bees filled the hole with comb. So that area lags behind the rest of the frame. Currently it has eggs, pollen, & honey in it.
Pierco Drone Frame
These frames would be great in Honey suppers. They hold more honey because there is less wax. The cell size is much bigger than the other frames to fit the larger size of the drone bees. The queen can tell what kind of egg to place in a cell by feeling the size of a cell with her front legs. Therefore all the eggs laid in this frame will become drones. This frame is noticeably heavier than the other frames.
Odd thing is that these bees like to bur comb the plastic. This is the only frame to have bur comb both on the top and the bottom. Maybe they don't like the plastic. I know I'm liking it less & less in the brood chambers, meaning the plasticell & the Pierco drone frame. At Dadant's the other day all I bought was crimped-wire wax foundation.
Bur comb on the bottom of the Hive top feeder
Can you guess where the plastic drone frame was? I'm not yet sold on the notion of using a drone frame to reduce to number of Varroa mites. Yes it works, i'm sure, but I'd rather have a frame producing thousands of bees than drones & mites. And since the frame is to be frozen before the drones hatch, to kill the mites, the frame really doesn't produce anything at all for the hive. It may be that I will take them out for now. In the event of a mite infestation I could put them back in then. In the meantime I can be producing lots of bees.
A question of Supersedure came up during the last inspection. I could not find and Queen cups of Supersedure cells. However, I didn't find the marked Queen either. There are lots of new eggs on the outer frames though. So I don't know what to say. An experienced beek told me her packaged bees may have superseded after only 22 days in the hive! So both of us are interested in what these girls do. Hopefully I'll find the queen next week.