Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hive Inspection 3/11/12


The first warmer weekend we've had in awhile.  I gave every hive a gallon of 1:1 syrup.  If they take it then they'll get more.  If they don't, like last year, then they are on their own for nectar.  Took the opportunity to inspect the big girls. 

Myrina has only two frames of brood.  Not a great surprise since she has been crashing since last August.  We will requeen Myrina this Spring with genetics other than her own.  She still has a single Deep brood box.  Frame one through three are the brood nest.  I moved them to the middle of the box to help her spread out.  As weak as she is she had a handful of Drone Cells.

Queen Myrina on frame #2 - paint dot almost gone
Mary had only three brood frames but her population was much better than Myrina's.  Most of her bees were in the top box around the brood.  The bottom box had some bees but plenty of old & new stores.  The boxes were reversed placing the brood nest on the bottom and the extra stores above the nest.  The bees will have to fully expand into the new top box before they feel like Swarming.

Queen Mary on frame # 5
Heléna had five frames of brood also all in the top box.  The big surprise here are the walking Drones and lots of drone cells.  There are plenty of worker cells too.  The colony is brooding up quickly.  With as many drones as she has Swarm season must be starting up.  Fortunately everyone has plenty of space in their hives.  Heléna's boxes were reversed too.  Her bottom box had stores but was a little light.  Nothing to worry about seeing as we are in a good spring flow.

Ton o' Drone cells in Heléna
Melissa had six brood frames loaded with workers and drones.  Again the top box looked great with lots of bees, pollen, & nectar.  Her bottom box was practically empty though.  Again her boxes were reversed like the others today.  She'll be fine and load up the empty box in no time.

Quiet box atop a brood box being reversed (Mary)
All in all the bees look good and the year is starting off strong.  The plan is to honey the three Big hives, Mary, Heléna, & Melissa; while hiving the other three small colonies.  I do not want to add any more colonies but that, as you know, is up to the bees.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Quick Peek & Brood boxes

Nuc #5 (Mab)
Nuc #6 (Gumption)

On Feb 28th i took a quick look at the two nucs.  Nuc #5, or Mab, is packed with bees and has three of her five frames loaded with brood.  The queen looked big & healthy as always.  This colony was my first captured swarm from last year.  Her population plummeted last fall but now she'll be ready to swarm in no time.

Nuc #6, Gumption, Has two of five frames in brood.  She doesn't have the number of bees Mab does but she's drawing comb already.  She is a late September swarm.  I never took her seriously though she continuously laid eggs.  So she's off to a great start now that she survived Winter.  So i finally marked the Queen; with white since she is from last year.

Since Mab is full of bees & Gumption is drawing comb they both received an additional brood box (5 frame Nuc) today.

Ready to go with old frames & new wax foundation
Mab's (nuc #5) new yellow Medium Brood box
and Gumption's (nuc #6) new yellow Brood box too
I intend to inspect a few hives this weekend.  Might need to reverse some boxes to hold off swarming.  This Winter has been VERY mild and the bees are way ahead of schedule.