Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hive check 7/24

Looked into my nucs today, its been a week since I switched upper boxes and I wanted to see if there was any changes.  The heavy box I thought I could harvest some honey but it seems there is new brood in the upper chamber so I left it for later.  Lots of honey tho, just on the upper parts of the frames.  The second box, which I suspected of being queen-less, still had some old unhatched brood in the upper chamber.  Checked the lower chamber and to my surprise, there was newly capped brood.  I must have brought the queen from the previous switch.  That hive is fixed, now to watch the other.  Did not look for a queen cell in hive No1 so will monitor, although both hives bringing in pollen, a good sign.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Moved hives north.

Spraying for West Nile virus starts tomorrow so today I took 3 of the 5 nucs north and set them up on the property.  The small swarm I caught last week seems queen-less so I installed 3 frames of brood, larvae and eggs (I hope as I can't see that well) from the strongest hive.  Now its a waiting game to see if they make a queen cell.  If not I'll try again.  Nothing tried, nothing gained.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nuc monitoring

Yesterday I opened up the nuc where I had placed one of the larger swarms.  I had placed a comb of bees and brood in it on Sunday and wanted to see how it was progressing.  They have built quite a bit of new comb and in it there were eggs and larvae which means they have a queen and she seems to be laying good patterns.  Now the question is?  Is this the swarm queen? or did I accidentally move the queen with the frame I installed.  A check of the other hive in 5 days will reveal if they are making a queen cell.  The really small swarm I caught Monday is bringing in lots of pollen which is a good sign also.  Will check its progress next week.  Have no more comb to spare right now so they are on their own.  Lots of time left in the season.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hive check at the farm

Drove up to the farm to mow the lawn and see how the bees are doing since I installed the push in queen cage on Monday.  When I pulled the frame I could see that they had eaten through the back of the comb to get to the queen.  Found several dead bees in the cage but no queen in the pile.  Searched the whole hive but could not see her, even though she is marked.  The bees were bunching all over the place, so I tried to separate them to no avail.  Found lots of pupae in the cells so I guess she's okay.  The other two hives are going strong.  If they expand any more, I think I will split one of them, as I might do to the last swarm I just caught.  We'll see in a week or two.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hive inspections and split

Today with the help of a friend, We pulled the covers on all five nucs to assess their hardiness.  The first we intended to split so took off the top box and placed it on a new bottom board, than replaced the cover.

We then went to hive # 2, a newly caught swarm which was queen-less, and installed a new queen in her cage an closed it back up.  The third hive was also a swarm but much larger, they were adjusting nicely to their new surroundings and had built up almost 2 whole frames of comb in 2 days, so I added another box under and closed it up.  The last was a purchased nuc which was light when I bought it ( another hired hand had carried it to the car).  An earlier inspection had showed the queen had a random laying pattern and I had expected to replace her, but the last queen I had was going to my friends hive.  Upon inspection, the hive had perked up and their was brood on all frames and they had begun to store honey.  It has been so wet and cold this spring I felt the hive would do well and would assess the queen later.  Finally,  We pulled a frame of brood with some honey and installed a push in queen cage and installed the last queen.  This we placed in a nuc box and my friend will install it in his hive as his hive is queen-less.  We will check on it in a week and see how it is progressing.  With the push-in cage, she can begin laying right away and as the brood hatches, they can attend to business as usual without fear of her being killed.  If a working layer is in the hive, she will be suppressed from laying by the pupae in the introduced frame.  Big morning and only one sting where I pinched a bee.