Sunday, June 10, 2012

Inspection 5-12-2012 - Wonky Comb!!

Today (again, I am speaking as if this is the date of the inspection) I did another inspection of the backyard hives.

Brown Hive

I checked out the Brown Hive, and yet again found more queen cells. This hive is determined to swarm. I took another few frames out to make another nuc, but I made sure to leave some queen cells in the brown hive (otherwise it may swarm and have no replacement queen). Here are a couple of swarm cells on the side of the comb:

And another (fuzzy) shot of a queen cell along the bottom:

Pink Hive

Slow and steady - that's the pink hive. Nothing going wrong, just good looking brood:

Green Hive

Earlier I put a super of undrawn medium frames on the Green hive so that they can draw it out and put honey in there. I left off the queen excluder because some have said the bees will draw out comb better without the excluder on. They were right, but boy the bees had other ideas! Here's what I found when I opened up the top of the hive:

What you see is comb, but the bees decided to build it perpendicular to the frames! What, don't they read the beekeeping books! They are supposed to build on the frames themselves!

There queen got up there and laid eggs for drone brood, which made things even worse!

In addition to brood, they are filling up the comb with nectar.

I really wasn't up to dealing with this right now, so I put the queen excluder back on, and next week I'll make sure the queen is in the lower part (by making sure there are now new eggs in the top part) and then I'll clean things up. What I plan on doing is waiting for the drone brood to hatch, then pull out the frames and letting the bees rob out the nectar/honey. Then I'll scrape off the wonky comb and re-coat the frames with wax.

I have a theory that there isn't enough wax on the frame to start with, and the bees aren't inclined to build up the frame. But they want to make comb, so they do it wonky.

As I mentioned earlier, I found more swarm cells in the brown hive. I pulled off a few frames, including the queen cells, and made up another nuc.

You may ask, why do I make nucs? It seems a shame to me to let the bees do all the work to create queen cells, only to have only one of them survive. This way I have some extra resources for queens if I need it.

Also, since this is swarm season, I decided to put a nuc up high to see if any swarms want to move in. This is what I have on my house:

My neighbor asked what it was so I explained to her that I am just a crazy beekeeper!

Last week I made up a mating nuc for one of the queen cells. This is what I found this week - not looking good!

I opened it up and found every bee dead!

I remembered that during the week there was a cold snap (temps in the 30's I think). What I think happened is that there weren't enough bees to keep themselves warm and they died. Generally mating nucs should be used only when the temperature is warm enough that they don't have heat issues. I guess it was too early...

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