Sunday, June 5, 2011

Going Up!

I expected that the girls would be getting crowded again, so when I inspected the hives today I was prepared to add another box. Also, with the temperature in the mid 80s, I decided to wear my Underarmor walking shorts and a short sleeved shirt. It's plenty hot under the veil and long sleeves and long pants really make the beekeeper schvitz.

As usual, I started in the middle with Hive 2. You may recall that this is my weakest hive and the one with the new Ohio queen. Things are looking much better inside with lots of capped brood, stored honey and pollen. The frames in the upper hive have several empty sides not yet drawn out with comb. The lower box has frames not drawn out either. Since the rule for adding a new box is to wait until the frames are 70% full, this colony is not ready for more room. I did spot that lovely Ohio queen. She has been doing her job and I saw lots of larvae. O-H-!

On to Hive 3. This is the hive with the unmarked queen. In spite of that, I found her and saw plenty of capped brood and larvae. Another healthy colony. The upper hive box was almost full of drawn comb so I added a box.

Hive 1, my poster child hive, had frames so loaded with honey I had to break some comb to pry out the first frame. I saw lots of comb, lots of honey, capped brood from one end of the frame to the other, larvae and comb from which bees have already emerged. Another hive body was in order. I didn't spot her majesty in the upper hive box and since I have so much trouble seeing eggs and because the bees were being so calm, I decided to go into the lowest box and keep looking. I'm glad I did! I found the queen, and finding her way down there means she is doing just what I want her to do, which is reusing the comb from which bees have already emerged. I saw various ages of larvae in darkened, previously used comb.

All the feeders were dry. I have continued to provide syrup for the bees, but I haven't been giving them as much as I used to so I was not surprised that all the syrup was gone. They don't eat it all, but they move it into storage to be used later as food. They treat the syrup just like honey. Real honey can only be made from nectar they collect.

I was feeling pretty smug about the bees. The hives are thriving. The bees were calm. Two hives have another story of frames. All have syrup in the feeders. I found all the queens. The hives were completely reassembled. And no stings.


Just as I stepped away from Hive 1 and began to gather my tools and supplies, I felt that familiar tweezer pinch hold of the soft skin on the inside of my upper left arm.

Sting count: 8.

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