Friday, February 18, 2011

Inspection 2/18/11

Mary & Myrina
Partly Sunny
Slight breeze

The first inspection of 2011.  The colonies have looked good all Winter.  Now was time to see first hand.  Though there were some clouds out and a slight breeze at 75°F today would be good enough.

I started by opening up Mary.  The bees had again gnawed on the insulation near the single vent hole in the Vent Box.  They had not chewed anywhere else though.  So that's an improvement over regular Styrofoam.  I still want to try the foil backed fiber sheets next year.  There was also some very minor bee poop on the top of the Inner Cover; probably from December.  As of yet i have no plans to treat with Fumagilin this Spring.  I'd like not to, so unless there are signs of Nosema i won't.

Under the IC was the pollen patty placed there in January.  The bees were working on it but nearly all of it was still there.  A previous post mentions the bees were bringing in pollen.  I expected the bees to eat more of the pollen patties before now.  They just don't seem to like it much.  I took it out since they'll not be needing it any more.  

The bee are not yet on top of the frames in the top box.  They're in them but with plenty of store left above and around them.  Looking down the cluster is on 7 of the frames to the left (east) side.

DHB2 - still some room left to go

10 - Full honey
 9 - Full honey
 8 - Full honey
 7 - Full honey
 6 - Full honey
 5 - 1/2 honey, new pollen, in cluster
 4 - 1/2 honey, new pollen, in cluster
 3 - 1/2 honey, new pollen, in cluster
 2 - 1/2 honey, new pollen, in cluster
 1 - 1/2 honey, new pollen, in cluster
DHB1 - this is where most of the bees are
10 - Full honey
 9 - Full honey
 8 - 4/5 honey
 7 - 1/2 honey
 6 - 1/5 honey
 5 - 1/4 brood, new pollen, in cluster
 4 - 1/4 brood, new pollen, in cluster
 3 - 2/3 brood, new pollen, in cluster, QUEEN
 2 - 1/4 honey
 1 - Full honey

New incoming Nectar & some Pollen
I'd like to find out where the yellow pollen is coming from.  The Silver maple pollen has a dull green color.  Whatever it is there must be a lot of it.  I suspect a Pussy Willow but I've not located it yet.  I have 5 of my own but they're seedlings so not in bloom.  The Nectar is likely from the Maple though.

Beautiful Early Brood frame
Last year I didn't see brood until March 20th.  So this year is quite early.  It has been warm and the bees have been flying since the 11th of Feb.  Still this is a great sight to see in.  The guy who sold me these queens last year told me they would brood up early and to watch out for swarming.  So i'll be getting the nucs ready soon.

Queen Mary herself on frame #3
There's that hard working queen.  Marked with 2010 blue.  It's an easy color to pick out.  This year is white which i hope will still be easy to see.  I might, like some, skip yellow and use a purple when it's time.

Then Myrina
Her bees were almost on top of the frames in the top box.  Not entirely but close.  They've almost gone through all their stores.  Here too the bees did not consume much of the Pollen patty.  It too was thrown away.  I was going to buy a case of these things to feed to the bees this Spring.  I'm glad i hadn't done it yet.  I don't think i'll bother with them next year either.  I started feeding syrup today as well.  With that & pollen & nectar coming into the hive they will be good going forward.

Bees not covering the top & useless pollen patty
10 - Honey, not fully drawn
 9 - Full honey
 8 - 4/5 honey
 7 - Full honey
 6 - Full honey, old & new pollen
 5 - 1/4 Brood, new pollen, in cluster
 4 - 1/4 Brood, new pollen, in cluster
 3 - 1/4 Brood, new pollen, in cluster
 2 - 3/5 honey, new pollen, in cluster
 1 - 4/5 honey, new pollen, in cluster

DHB1 - Lots of brood on the old frames

All fresh Pollen
10 - Empty, mildew
 9 - 1/5 honey, mildew
 8 - 1/3 honey
 7 - 1/2 honey
 6 - 1/2 honey, new pollen, in cluster
 5 - Mostly empty, not fully drawn
 4 - Mostly empty, new pollen, in cluster
 3 - Mostly empty, new pollen, in cluster
 2 - Undrawn
 1 - (oops, didn't record)

Myrina's bottom box

Myrina's bottom bottom box is having a mildew problem.  The right corner (west side) has a coating of the dark greenish stuff over the whole side.  Frames 10 & 9 are also affected.  The wood bars and a little on the wax comb too.  The box is from 2008 and has been fully waxed by the bees but the mildew's on the comb too.  I think the source of the mildew is the unpainted piece of luan board under the screened bottom board.  The moisture of the Winter hive settling on it each day may have started the process.  I think it then spread upwards from there.  I don't plan on opening the SBB until the nightly lows are in the 60°'s.  I'll replace the sheet with a painted one soon.

Mildew, box & comb
Top boxes are a common place for a queen to start laying in Spring but all the brood is in the oldest frames in the hive.  The current brood frames are the only remaining equipment from the old farmers apiary.  The comb is dark and the frames are rough and chipped.  I wonder if such old comb is desired by the queen for laying eggs?  I'll need to read up on it.

Feeding time again
After the inspection I added the hive top feeders to each hive.  Then filled them with a gallon each of the 1:1 syrup/tea I've made.  It looks like a good start to the year. 



Sorrow said...

Maybe some honey this year? wouldn't that be grand!!!

Doug Ladd said...

pollen patties are best consumed and needed in times of dearth like mid summer through fall depending on the golden rod flow etc. the bees wont touch it if they dont need it, but if they need it they will eat 1 lb a week at times. The queen will even shut completly down with no protien coming in the hive. Each to their own, but dont discount them until after you try them say about July 1 or when ever our nectar flow stops this year and about one brood cycle later after they have used alot of the stored pollen to feed that round of brood...

Hemlock said...


I've not thought about using pollen patties in Summer. I don't recall a break in the brood cycle here in Concord. I have noticed the brood nests shrink during the dearth though. I'll pay more attention to pollen stores in Summer now. If I see a dip I'll try pollen patties again.

Thank you for the information.