Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hive Inspection 10/15/2011

Slight Breeze

Mid-October is the traditional time for final inspections before Winter.  Both colonies have received one gallon of 2:1 syrup medicated with Fumagilin.  The second gallon will be fed to them in the next day or two.

Starting with Mary.  Last inspection she had little brood and i never saw the queen.  After checking records I learned i have no record of seeing Mary at all this year. 

Top Box DHB2: frames
1 - Solid honey
2 - Solid honey
3 - Honey & brood (eggs)
4 - Honey & brood (eggs)
5 - Brood & honey (eggs) - QUEEN (unmarked!)
6 - Backfill & pollen
7 - Backfill & pollen
8 - Backfill & pollen
9 - Backfill & pollen
10 - Solid honey

Bottom Box DHB1: frames

1 - Honey & backfill
2 - Honey & backfill
3 - Honey, pollen, backfill
4 - Pollen, backfill, brood
5 - Pollen & backfill
6 - Backfill - most
7 - Pollen, backfill, honey - most
8 - Honey & backfill - most
9 - Honey - most
10 - Honey - most

Three weeks ago this colony had nine brood frames.  Now it has only four.  The brood frames it does have are beautiful with solid laying patterns.  Brood production always falls off at the end of the year.  Usually the Queen completely stops laying eggs around mid-December.  It may be that these bees have slowed down a little early but the last week has been cool and solid rain.  The nightly lows have also been in the high forties since the first of October.  Which might lessen the queen's urge to lay, maybe.  The population is good but not high.  I would have liked to see more bees in this colony.

Bees on every frame of the top box
 Long live the Queen.  We found her walking around frame #3 in the Top box; and she was unmarked to boot!  I thought this colony had requeened in Spring but i could not find anything in the records about it.  The last entry involving Queen Mary Actual was last year and stated she was marked blue.  So my record keeping needs some honing. This pretty Queen was treated to a quick marking with white paint and released.

2011's Queen Mary about to be marked
 The bees are nicely backfilling the brood nest.  One or two more feedings should top them off.  They are still up in the top box.  I hope they plan to move down to the bottom box soon.  Last year one of the colonies Wintered in the top box and did fine.

Backfilling the Brood nest
- - -   - - -   - - -

Myrina was a surprise.  Her population is in the tank.  SHB all over the place.  Only as much stores as so few bees can muster.  She couldn't even finish off her Fumagilin syrup before it crystallized.  What a mess.

Top Box DHB2: frames
1 - Backfill & fresh brood (eggs)
2 - Backfill, pollen, honey, brood
3 - Honey & backfill
4 - Honey, backfill, pollen
5 - Backfill, honey, SHB (10)
6 - 1/2 Backfilled
7 - empty
8 - Mostly backfilled
9 - Empty & SHB
10 - Mostly backfilled

Bottom Box DHB1: frames
1 - Pollen & backfill
2 - Brood, backfill, pollen - QUEEN (marked white)
3 - Backfill & pollen (dropped & placed in 4th position)
4 - Backfill & pollen (placed in 3rd position)
5 - Some pollen
6 - empty
7 - empty
8 - empty
9 - empty
10 - empty

Whoa!  Not at all what one wants to see at this time of year.  This is the first time since i got Myrina in 2008 that she isn't the strongest colony.  In fact she's a wreck.  I had to add two more SHB traps for now.

Choices are few but at least we have some.  To address her small population she will be broken down to a single Deep box.  A better fit there will help her deal with the cold Winter temps.  It will also help her control the Small Hive Beetles.  If her population is big enough i can add a Medium Honey Supper filled with honey.  Then they would be in great shape going into Winter.  I hope to do all of this tomorrow.  Plus I'll add a regular Bottom Board to replace the Screened one she has now. 

I could also combine the extra swarm into her.  That would boost the population but not by the amount she needs to stay in the Double Deep.  I'll have to think that over some more first.

For what it's Worth, there were no drone cells on any of the frames i saw today.  That's the first time that's happened going into this Winter.


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