Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Few Observations

Lately I've been going into the hives every other day or so checking for laying queens, comb drawing, etc.  The bees seem to be doing alright.  There are a few things i wanted to put into the record.

Mary's bees are closer to drawing out the honey comb in the super.  I had added 3 partially drawn out plasticell frames to spur her to draw out the rest.  I don't know if it was those or the main flow starting but some comb is now being drawn.

Drawing Foundationless Comb
Each frame has a small piece of Crimped-wire foundation stuck to the top bar.  You can see the wires in the above image.  I use that as the seed strip to guide the bees.  The strips also get sprayed with syrup.

The bees have begun to bring in nectar and store it up in the honey super.  Though the frames aren't fully drawn out yet.  The wax bees seem to keep just ahead of the field bees.

Uncured Honey
This is one of the plasticell frames.  After this season i hope to have enough foundationless honey frames around to chuck the last of these. 

In the Brood boxes there is some odd looking debris in some of the cells.  I think it's either bits of mold or maybe SHB droppings. 

Dirty looking stuff!?
There was a SHB in Duchess's hive last Fall when I did the combination with Mary.  Maybe there were some more that made it through Winter.  To check I put a Beetle trap in Mary's hive and filled it with Mineral Oil.  To my surprise the bees went nuts and ganged up on the trap.

Why are they doing this?
Was I supposed to use Vegetable Oil instead?  I'll ask the question in the Forum.  The bees cant physically reach the oil in the trap but it looks like they're trying.  They immediately clustered around the trap as i was adding the oil to it.  Perhaps it should go in any swarm traps I make.

Mary had one frame that was entirely drone comb.  It wasn't a Pierco frame either but a regular foundationless frame.  It's swarm season and bees need to make lots of drones this time of year.  The bees can change the drone cells to worker cells later when they're over the drone rut.  In the mean time Mary is stuck making tons of drones and Varroa.  To fix that I cut the comb out leaving and undrawn frame.

Ex-Drone Frame
I left a few rows at the top to guide the bees making the next comb.  Which hopefully will be worker comb.

The Nucs look good too.  2 of 3 are broodless but should have laying queens in them soon.  Their populations are good.  Especially Nuc3.

Nuc3 loaded with Bees
This Nuc may end up as a hive this year.  It started with 5 Medium frames filled with bees & brood.  Plus I added an extra 4 Deep frames fully drawn with pollen & honey.  These bees have done well and love to make comb.  If i add another Deep box they might just draw it out before Fall.  How well the new queen does at laying will decide.

To finish I want to post an image of a hatched Queen Cell being torn down by workers.  Most of the time these are gone before i get to see them.  This one is from Nuc2.

Old Queen Cell
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