Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sutton Moving Up

It's about time to move the Sutton Nuc into a full-size hive. I need to give the queen lots of space to build up for the winter. So I took out the full size hive parts (with extra frames) to transfer the Nuc.

Here's a frame from the Nuc - the queen is doing what she is supposed to!

But as I was transferring the frames, I saw something on one of the frames - a supercedure cell! See if you can spot it:

 This confused me a little, since the queen was doing just fine (I saw her on another frame):

I didn't want to let this hive make a new queen, since it would put it behind about a month. So I decided to bring the frame with the supercedure cell on it home, and put it in a new nuc:

I added a couple of frames of bees and brood from my hive to be able to service the queen cell. Let's see if the queen hatches fine. If so, I have a new hive - woot!!

So here's my backyard now:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Expensive Delays...

I'm behind about 4 posts, so I'm playing catch up. I've dated the posts based on the day I did the activity, not the day I am writing the post (yay Blogger!).

I have been talking for the last couple of years that I wanted to breed some queens. I wanted to increase my hives and maybe over-winter a nuc or two.

Well, like past years, the time has slipped away and now it's too late to start the process. Since I still want to overwinter my nucs, that leaves me to purchasing some queens. I called up my fellow WCBA member George O'Neil and sure enough, he had a couple of queens I could buy. So I took some of my honey money and bought two queens.

So here's my plan:
  • Take the queen in the Green Hive (last year's queen) and move her to a nuc
  • Put one of the new queens in the Green Hive
  • Take some frames from the Green Hive and make another nuc, and put the second queen in.

The idea is that I would have a good queen in the large green hive, and one in a nuc. The other nuc was last year's queen.

So on Friday I made the two nucs, moving the Green Hive queen into one of them (leaving the Green Hive queenless).

Then on Saturday when I picked up the new queens, I put them in their respective hives. Here's the Green Hive - look how the bees are all over the queen cage. They are excited to have a queen again!

Here is the bee yard now.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Does Sutton Have a Queen?

Back on July 14 I performed a walk-away split on the hive at Sutton. I wanted to make a 2nd hive to have two there. A week later, there were some good queen cells starting. Today I decided to check to see if the nuc has a queen - according to bee math, she should be there and laying.

When I got over to the Sutton hives, I could tell summer was being good to the vegetation - there were vines and weeds threatening to overrun the hives!

Here's a back view of the new nuc:

And the front view:

Even the main hive had some weeds growing in front of the hive:

I pulled back a lot of the climbing vine away from the hives as much as I could. My wife said it was a trumpet vine, based on the flowers I described. But whatever it was, it was everywhere!

Sutton Hive #2
(really just a nuc now)

I popped open the nuc, and saw some good activity (the bees were doing well coming and going as well):

The first frame I pulled out had some good evidence of a queen - lots and lots of young larvae! If you click on the picture you can see the white worm-like things in some of the cells.

So now the quest - find the queen! I looked at all of the frames, and didn't see here. But one of the benefits of a 5-frame nuc is that she can't go far to hide. A second pass showed here. She is on this frame - see if you can spot the queen:

If you can't find her, click here for a version of the picture where I circled the queen.

I nabbed her, put her in my queen marking tube, and now she has a very fashionable red dot (red is this year's color).

I put her back in the hive, and I'll check in a week or so to see if it's time to move that nuc into a full-size hive.

Sutton Hive #1

Back to the main hive, popping the cover showed a good number of bees under the inner cover (there were also a bunch on top of the inner cover):

You'll notice the outer frames are black - those are the frames of honey I put in the hive last time, which came from the Sutton hive that died out over the winter.

This queen is doing what the queen needs to do - makin' lots of babies! She has a nice laying pattern:

There were a lot of frames with a good brood pattern - it was good to see!

Looking into the lower box, I found a lot of burr comb on top of the frames. You can see the comb zig-zagging along the top of the 4th and 5th frames.

That burr comb had drones in it, and that comb was destroyed when I separated the hive bodies. So I just scraped it out.

The lower box also had some brood - the queen was using both top and bottom for the brood nest. Again, that's good.

I looked for the queen, but didn't see here. But that's not a problem - I know she's there.

There was still plenty of space for her to lay, so I didn't make any changes to the hive. There was also plenty of honey in the hive. I'll check in a couple of weeks.
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