Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yesterday and Today's Inspections

Yesterday was dedicated to inspecting all the nucs, the swarm we caught the day before, the new hive set up last week from one of my other nucs, and Bee Glad... .

The four nucs I looked into were teeming with bees. They were getting to the point of overcrowding, and, thus, possible swarming. I removed a frame of capped brood from each 5 frame nuc (without attached adult bees) and set them aside, suspecting that the newest hive might just need some strengthening. By Friday all these nucs should be in hives on the Kendall farm if all goes as planned.

The swarm Monta, Joyce, Paul and I caught the day before was placed, branch and all, in an empty cardboard nuc that night. I retrieved the branch and channel locks yesterday, put in 4 more frames and opened up the entrance. I am surprised how fast the bees build comb sometimes, as the swarm was already building comb on the cardboard inner cover. This swarm also goes to the Kendall farm.

The inspection of the newest, nameless hive (hint! hint! readers) indicated, as I suspected, a rather weak hive. So I placed the capped brood from the nucs into it.

Bee Glad... is probably my strongest hive. It contains a large population of adult bees, plenty of brood in all stages, and good deal of pollen and nectar. It must be reversed fairly soon.

Today, I inspected Lib-BEE-taria, and Worker Bees.... I will have to admit that I was wrong about Lib-BEE-taria. The hive is not queenless but does contain a laying queen as is evident from eggs and young larvae in a number of drawn frames. Perhaps this hive superseded their previous queen and the new queen needed sometime to mate and lay eggs.

Worker Bees of the World Unite
is strong. They are storing nectar into the honey super, using all three boxes for a nursery, and are, gentle to beat! This hive will need to be reversed soon as well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Slideshow: Monta and Wes Capture Their First Swarm

Click on the photo for a slide show of Monta and Wes' first bee swarm capture (with help from Joyce and Paul).

The swarm issued from one of the nucs that has not yet been picked up.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Another Nuc to Hive

This morning I transferred one of my strong nucs to bigger accommodations (a 10 frame hive) in Beelandia. The transfer went without incident. This is the last hive I can fit into Beelandia. The other nucs will probably either go to my friends, Chris and Jenny, or be used to requeen any of the other hives. Now I'll need another name for a hive, of course. As usual, I am open to suggestions.

And speaking of new names, last post, I asked for naming suggestions for the hive I started last week. Only David from the LA Garden blog entered but I really liked his suggestion: "Atta Bee!" So "Atta Bee!" it is!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Today's weather was finally summer-like: muggy, bright sun, and bees were out flying. All the hives had activity at the entrance. A few are just chock-full of bees.

I inspected the langstroth hives today. Bee Glad... has eggs layed in all three boxes. The queen is on the move. The brood pattern was fairly solid, and the bees themselves were very gentle. I pulled a capped drone brood frame, and replaced it with one that had been in the freezer for two weeks. (It was thawed!)

I cannot say that Lib-BEE-taria was not all that gentle. They were flightly, defensive, and running all over the comb. They still act queenless, and there was very little activity in the top box. I put some young open brood from one of the crowded nucs into this hive and will hope for the best.

Worker Bees... is doing fine. The queen is also laying in all three boxes, and they were as gentle as Bee Glad.... I also extracted some capped drone brood and replaced it with a formerly frozen frame. There were a few open queen cells in the hive but nothing was laid in them. I dusted this hive with powdered sugar as well.

I finished off inspecting the hive I created last week from one of the nucs I started in April. This hive is thriving. The bees were working on all 10 frames, and there was some crowding already. I decided to add a second box to the hive.

Aside: Any suggestions on what to name this new hive? Or am I getting large enough that I need to brand them with numbers?

I have run out of deep hive boxes so I will need to make a trip to B and B Honey Farm sometime this week.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

After the Rains

The last week's weather has been rainy, and overcast much of the time, neither conducive for bee flight nor bee inspection. Finally, though, yesterday was a pleasant enough day to go out and inspect the hives. It was mostly sunny, very little wind, and in the mid 70s.

During the last inspection, I suspected that Lib-BEE-taria was queenless. I placed a frame of brood in the hive hoping, if it was, that the bees would raise up a new queen. My hunch about this hive seems to have wrong. The bees are probably not queenless. They did not produce queen cells on this frame.

Both Worker Bees... and Bee Glad... hives seems fine. The bees are producing brood, there are signs of eggs, and the laying patterns are very good.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Different Approach

I took a different approach to Lib-BEE-taria's queenlessness than I stated I would this morning. I took a frame of young open brood from one of the nucs and placed it in Lib-BEE-taria. If Lib-BEE-taria is truly queenless they will raise their own queen from the larvae provided. If they aren't queenless, I have not wasted a queen.

Queenless Lib-BEE-taria?

I inspected the three langstroth hives yesterday afternoon. While overall the temperature (upper 70s) and sun were pleasant, it was rather windy during the whole process.

First, I examined the 24 hour mite drop of each hive. Both Lib-BEE-taria and Worker Bees had less than 7 each, so I assumed they were doing fine. Bee Glad... had over 30 mites counted. This will demand further watching.

Both Worker Bees... and Bee Glad... are both doing good, good brood pattern, plenty of eggs, and very calm on the comb. (I did not see the queen however.) I cannot say the same for Lib-BEE-taria however. It had many signs of queenlessness. There were no eggs to be seen, just sparsely capped comb. The bees frantically headbutted me all throughout the inspection. Later that evening, as I examined the front entrance of the hive, I discovered a dead queen dumped to the ground.

This afternoon, I will be taking a queen from one of my nucs, caging her, and adding her to Lib-BEE-taria using the instructions for requeening found in the latest addition The ABCs and XYZs of Bee Culture.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Link: The Bee Photographer

A friend, Julie Jergenson, sent me this link to Eric Tourneret website, The BEE PHOTOGRAPHER. Very beautiful, an awe inspiring photos!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Finally Connected

I have been unable to connect to Blogger for the last 24 hours or so due to technical difficulties on their end, so I've been late with my last two reports.

Yesterday, I examined Plan Bee.... The bees are active and gentle with only one queen cup to be seen. However, I am a bit concerned about the brood pattern I saw. It was a bit too spotty for my liking. (I did not see the queen.) The bees in this hive are bringing in plenty of nectar and pollen. I had to close my inspection of this hive early as a freak shower developed toward the end of the inspection. This hive will be watched a bit.

Today, I examined Metpropolis, the other top bar hive. Readers know I have had concerns about this hive all season. I think the hive has shown a bit of an improvement. The brood pattern on some newly drawn comb looks rather good and the population of the hive seems a bit larger. I was concerned about what seemed to be a lack of food, so I added a comb of capped honey to the edge of the broodnest.

I also examined the 6 older nucs today. I am very pleased with how 4 out of the 6 nucs are doing. Four nucs seem to have productive queens with very good laying patterns. While showing signs of laying queens previously, the two other nucs don't seem to be doing well at all.

I have not looked into the two newer nucs I set up just two weeks ago.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today's Inspections

I spent the late morning/early afternoon inspecting all the langstroth hives. The temperature stayed pleasant, and sunny with temperatures in the 70s.

All three hives seem to be doing well. While I did not see the queen in any of the three hives I did see evidence of egg laying in each. Each hive has a fairly good brood pattern as well. I did find I few queen capped queen cells in the middle of some frames in Lib-BEE-taria which might mean supersecedure is occurring.

The bees were unusually gentle today.

I did take a frame of capped honey from Worker Bees to open up some space above the brood nest.

I dusted each hive with powdered sugar.

Next week I will probably reverse one or more of these hives.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nucs Ready

The "nuc" hives I set up last month from queen cells grafted from larvae in  Worker Bees are ready. The queens are laying, there is capped brood, and the pattern is pretty good considering. I have four or so hives ready now. I will be using the queen from another nuc to requeen one of the top bars, Metpropolis.