Saturday, May 21, 2011

Swarm, Queen in Super, & Other Notes

Keeping up with the bees has been a daily chore lately.  Catching the Swarm on Wednesday (5/18) was great but all the equipment had to be borrowed.  The issue with that was the neighbor uses Mediums only.  Yesterday (5/20) the medium frames and the Medium Nuc were traded out for all Deep equipment; the quiet box is now in service.  On a good note the new bees had drawn almost a full frame already.  I like these bees.

The full story on the swarm is straight forward.  The Wife saw the swarm before Noon then called me at work.  After work we went back and hived them.  They were very cooperative in that the swarm quickly accepted the nuc.  They were all in it and calm within an hour.  We came home, put them on the stand, and fed them.  They've been busy since.  When i traded all the equipment they were calm and passive.  I guess the swarm was at about 2 pounds.  Good haul!  Oh, and the tree the bees were swarming on was a bee tree.  I marked it with flagging and notified everyone in the club.  We'll all watch it for years to come.  Welcome Nuc #5.

Equipment issues:
I'm out of  woodenware.  This Spring i started with 2 full hives.  The plan was to add one more full hive, via package, and make 2 Nucs.  The equipment for all was made and ready to go.  However what happened was more than i had hoped for.  On top of the what was planned I made a third Nuc and caught two swarms; the third Nuc is insanely productive and will be made into a full hive as soon as another box is available.

I have decided to make all the woodenware I need instead of buying it.  4 Nuc bodies, 2 Nuc covers, 2 Nuc Inner Covers, 2 Nuc Screened Bottom Board., 2 Nuc Slatted Racks, all for 5 frame Deeps.  Also I need 2 Screened Bottom Boards, 1 Slatted Rack, 1 Cover, all for 10 frame Deeps to fix a few issues with the full hives.  All of this is needed this year, NOW!, but the budget has been used up.  SO...I'll make everything from plywood.  Not ideal but doable. Plywood is more susceptible to water damage but is much cheaper.  To deal with the water issues I'll need to make sure the end grains are covered and well sealed.  If done properly the plywood boxes will last as long as solid wood.

Honey Production:
Queen Mary got into the Honey Super.  I notice on Monday (5/16) the bees had drawn a few frames out down to the bottom.  I wanted to put the Excluder on then but a rain storm shut me down then and for the rest of the week.  Yesterday (5/20) I went to put it in but it was to late.  She had gotten to 3 frames, mostly drone cells.  Not a problem though.  I made sure the Queen was not in the Super then swept the bees off the egg frames and culled them.  They went directly into the deep freezer.  Left them in for 2+ hours.  I figured by then the eggs were sufficiently chilled.   Then put the frames back into the Super.  The Excluder went on as soon as I culled the frames.  I'll check the Super again in a few days.

Queen Excluders are mostly called 'Honey' Excluders around here.  Seems bees don't like to pass through the bars and many Supers never get drawn out.  To remedy this I modified the Excluders.  I cut off the bars on the last inch of each side.  That way the Queen won't be in a position to crawl through while worker bees on both side can pass without hindrance.

Clipped off the sides

Other beeks like to place the Excluder sideways on the box.  It does the same thing while allowing for additional ventilation.  I'd rather keep the sides of the hives closed off.  The gap opens up the outside & the top of the last frames.  It closes off the inside of the last frames and everything in between.  When placing the chilled frames back in I saw the bees actively passing through the gaps.

Myrina is still having a problem drawing out honey comb.  To motivate her more I put her Honey Super in between the top & bottom brood boxes.  I'll check back in a week for improvement.

The Small Swarm:
Nuc #4, this swarm nuc was still doing nothing.  To boost their instinct to act like bees I added a brood frame from Nuc #3 and an entrance feeder.  A check in a few days will tell me if it worked.  Fingers crossed...

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2 comments:

theresa said...

We are living in concord and are interested in Starting a hive...we have read severalwebsites and you appear to be within 6 miles of us..my husband was so excited that we purchased and saw and lumber to go with our downloaded plans....If you could please contact me at Dinowoman@yahoo.com it would be appreciated

Mr Jinx said...

Great tip on the excluder's, Thanks