Monday, April 5, 2010

Hive inspection

The pictures above are what I have spent my weekend doing. Building garden boxes, planting flowers and general yard maintance. The blueberry bushes I planted last fall are all blooming now and I hope my bees can get to them and pollinate. 

This past saturday Mark from Marks Bee Haven came by to give me a hand with the inspection. It was after 6pm when we were finally able to go into them, so I was worried about them being upset.

This is a picture Mark took through the railing about 1' away from the enterance. Not one of the guardss flew up to investigate. You can also see the cable on the left. It is attached to a probe which is resting on the Screened Bottom Board (SBB) so I can measure the temp on the screen. Every night the lowest I have seen it is 78 degrees.

As usual, Watson hive (with the green roof) was calm as could be. I usually do not use smoke when doing anything with them. Just a few mists of sugar water with a drop of Honey Bee Healthy if they start scrambling for the exit. This queen is great. I had to move some frames around because the workers were trying to store so much pollen and sugar water that the queen didn't have much room on the frames to lay. This is a frame of only 1/2 weeks work:



They are still trying to draw comb to be able to lay and store in. These bees took the syrup from the boardman very well, but the hive top feeder is hardly touched. I won a boardman style feeder from brushy mountain at the beekeeping class a few weeks ago and have been feeding from both. It is now on Holmes doing double duty feeding them.





This is another frame from Watson:





The only issue I have with the Watson bees is that they are so gentle, they like to crawl on your hands from the comb to check you out. I am switching to nitrile gloves because I am killing about 15 bees every time I go in just for the meer fact that I have them sitting on me and cannot feel them with the gloves. No biting, no stinging, just crawling around. I think it has to do with the scenting. I placed a used t-shirt in the top feeder side that was empty to see if they would get accustomed to my smell. I think it worked. After a week, I removed it and they seem to love me like I am one of their own...

Holmes is a differenty story. The queen was from very gentle stock and is the cousin of Watson's queen. They were in the shade for about 1/2 of the day at the last location and were not very well built up. The bees have been taking down the full boardman every 2 days and I am concerned they are overfilling the combs.

The queen does not have very much area to lay in due to them filling cells with the syrup. They also have begun building burr comb in the hive top feeder on the inner cover as big as my hand. I figured this was an indication of needing to add a super, as the bees are pretty thick in there. This is a picture of one of the pierco frames I was given....Quite a few bees and every frame in the 8 frame brood box had this many if not more.....


We didn't see either queen but did see eggs in both. Watson had every cell filled. Holmes had a few eggs. I am not sure about her. The Tates and I are going to graft and collect drones for Instrumental insemination from the Watson hive very soon to see if we can get another couple of fantastic queens going.

My bees have found the drain off hose from the dehumidifyer in the basement I installed this past winter. They seem to like this water better than the water feeder I made for them.

1 comment:

  1. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I got the chance to see them both. Just give that "hot" hive a few weeks and see if they tone it down some. I think once they cycle out, and the older and more aggressive bees die out, you'll see them tone town. But hang in there, I think both will be bustling before you know it. See ya at Krispy Kreme!

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