June Frame

June Frame

Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting ready for fall. Hive changes, and new queens ..

Ok - so I'm slack. 

It's been a few weeks since I posted any updates, so here goes - and hopefully in chronological order ..

As you're aware, I've moved all 4 hives into their newest and sunniest locations about a month ago.  So far, 3 of the 4 hives have been doing well with a reduced number of SHB in them.  I still have 1 hive, H2 which has allot (or more than I want to have anyway) of SHB in it - but as it has the most resources (capped honey and bees) they bees seem to be taking care of them - or at least keeping them under control.  I wish I didn't have to still kill about 25 or so upon each visit, not including the traps that I'm still getting them in - but as it was the last hive to move, perhaps that's it's 'fate' for now.

9/5 - Even though I've been community and top-hive feeding, only 1 hive ( H2 ) has been really putting on the weight.  I noticed this on a full hive inspection on all the hives and decided to make a few changes.  I took some brood from H2, and gave it to the new split-hive I created this year.  I also took some capped honey and gave it to the Nuc box, and H1 because the bees in the Split and Nuc boxes were the lowest in bee counts and needed to build up their 'stock' some.  I also broke down the Nuc box and H2 from double-deep boxes to just 1 Deep.  I also noticed that the queens in the Split, Nuc, and H1 boxes weren't laying too much - and what they were was somewhat spotty.  This might have been due to the Mite treatments I've been using, Api-Var Life - but as the packaging doesn't state it should...who know's for sure. 

9-6 - I decided after talking to several people and making arrangements to have a local commercial beekeeper friend "bank" some of my queens to order some replacement queens so that hopefully I can accomplish 2 things - new queens to build up the stock for the winter, and be able to maintain/keep those queens over the winter.  Since I didn't have enough brood to make any nucs up and it's really too late in the season to start from 'fresh' this seemed to make the most sense.  The queens I decided to replace, albeight 2 of them were needed the most were - Split box from earlier this year, Nuc bomb, and H1.  I was fortunate to be able to find someone locally that had stock, and also wanted to have some of my genetics.  I searched around from some VSH queens, but couldn't find any and ordered my queens from JJ's Honey out of Georgia.  We've had several people order from him and although he's a small breeder, there haven't been any issues.

9-11 -

I don't know when the call came in as I'd gone to bed at 2am from working, but woke up around  8 and had already received a call from the post office saying that the bees were in and I could come get them.
I inspected them at the post office, and had 4 queens with several attendants with them and all seemed fine.  They were much smaller in abdominal size than my current stock, and other club members have ordered from JJ's Honey before w/o issues - and I've heard that you can't always tell much from that.  Since you asked, I had someone else need one so that's why the order was for 4, instead of 3.  I'd arranged for Danny to come by and get my queens he as going to "bank" for me so I just gave the queens a drop or 2 of water in their cages until he arrived. This was the first time Danny had come out to the house and we did a full inspection of the 3 hives in question, and a preliminary one of the one that is doing well.  He didn't really have any "better" suggestions as to why the queens weren't laying very much, but thought that perhaps re-queening might help.  The only reasoning I can assume, and really hate to do that .. :)- is that perhaps their wasn't too many bees to cover the brood, and the Api-Var Life had 'shunted' them for a bit.  All 3 queens were quite large and healthy looking - but who knows.  We captured the old queens, and put the new queens, along with their cages in w/o any issues. 
Whenever we looked at H2 - he agreed that there were plenty of SHB in there and couldn't understand why either.  I also showed him the original location where they were located and he agreed that that location shouldn't have been any problem - but since they are doing better now ..  who knows.  I think since we have allot of pines around us, that might be the reason - but just not sure.  Before he left, he jokingly asked if he could sterilize his hive tools somewhere so that he didn't take any SHB pheromones back home with him.

9/15 -

I didn't have time to get back into the hives until yesterday. 

Split box already had the queen out so I removed the cage and refilled their top feeder.  I'm using a migratory top with a 1-gallon jar on it.  This seems to be working better for them as they couldn't seem to understand the other feeder.

The Nuc box still had the queen in it, although I don't know why.  As soon as I separeted the frames and pulled it up for inspection, she ran right out and into the hive.  There was still some 'candy' in place, but as I didn't have to remove it to release her - who knows.  I cleaned out the other candy and left on their landing board as a treat.  I'm feeding them with a top feeder, from Brushy Mountain, but they don't seem to take to it very well.  I've had this issue on other hives, but hope it's due to the "number" of bees in the hive, and not that they aren't smart enough to locate their dinner.

H1 - the queen was already out so I removed the cage.   I'm having to feed a gallon just about ever other day.  This is good news as I'm wanting them to stock up for the winter and they seem to like the migratory top/1-gallon feeder much better than the top-feeder from BM.

H2 - just a status update here on it.   I'm feeding it with the same type of top feeder from BM, and they are really taking it in - almost to the fact that it's a gallon a day.  If I kept it full all the time, I think they'd drink it up but I have to weigh that against them running out of egg laying area so I need to keep an eye on them.

I don't know when the other queens were released, but don't really care as I just have to look for some new eggs and brood towards the end of this week. 

That's all for now - I'll try to update after I do another inspection towards the end of the week.