June Frame

June Frame

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feb 27, 2014

I've been into the hive a few times and am pleased so far with their progress in rebounding from the winter, and getting ready for spring.  I took a few pictures of each of the hives including their frame status and queens for reference, but as most of them were busy - I'll keep those for myself at this time.

For the last couple of weeks I've noticed the girls bringing in lots of pollen,  about 30-40 % of the time whenever there was good flying weather.  I've identified a couple of American Elm trees on my property and the girls have really been enjoying it. 

Last week I did a 'full' inspection and here's what I found.

H1 -

New queen from last fall.  2+ frames of mixed capped/new brood and 4+ frames of capped honey.  This is the hive I'd given a strip of pollen patty too and they responded very well with it.  I added another strip of pollen patty to it a couple of days ago and will check on it's status, weather permitting this weekend.

H2 - T

his is the hive that died due to not enough bees to keep warm.  It's ready for the Nuc I should receive in about 3 weeks.

H3 -

This hive has 2 double 4-frame nucs on it.  A few weeks ago I'd noticed the queen starting to lay in the top of 1 side and only a few bees moving around the other side.  I didn't check the bottom box other than to move 1 side and peak down.  It had almost 3 frames of capped honey on that side, so I presume its the same on the other.  Last week I did a full inspection and saw capped brood in the lower 'main brood box' and almost 3 frames of mixed brood in the same upper 4-frame box as the previous week.  I also noticed a lot of bees in the other 4-frame nuc box and believe the queen has migrated over there and started laying.  From my estimate, I've probably gotten about 5 frames of brood laid by this queen so far, and she seems to be doing well.  I have this box configured in this manner in hopes of making 2 more nuc/hives from this setup in a few weeks whenever the pollen starts coming in strong, and our nector flow starts.  I'm going to let them raise their own queens from this stock and they should be able to build up good for the summer and into the winter.

H4 -

Angry hive.  A week or so whenever I entered it I noticed that almost all the tops of the frames were covered with bees and there was about 30 or so bees on top of the Inner Cover.  Last week I counted 4+ frames of capped honey and several frames of mixed brood/pollen so this hive is doing really well so far.  I broke the #2 top frame off while trying to pry it off due to it's being "glued' down really well - so I just pushed it back down and left the frame as it was.  I'll deal with it later.  I peeked into it the other day and notice about 150 or so been up on top of the Inner cover and all the frames are now covered with bees so I decided to add another brood box, but only gave it 4 frames - and of those 4 frames only 1 is a 'full' frame in depth.  The other frames had partial natural comb drawn already and I wanted the hive to continue building them out.  Once they completely draw those down and need more frames, I'll add more frames until I eventually get a full deep box.  I also had a nugget left over from my pollen strip and give it to them to see what they would do.  It didn't take more than about 15 seconds for that to be covered in bees and started to be consumed.

So far I have 3 hives that seem to be going pretty well, considering it's the last of February and I'm pleased about this.  At this time it appears that I might be able to create 1 to 2 nuc's from H3 and I'll probably create another from H4.  I have a package coming in about 3 weeks and hopefully it will do well as I already have some drawn comb for them to get started in.  I also have a VSH Nuc which should be ready for mid-May pickup from NC.  I'm excited about getting these genetics and possibly making a few hives from it.  I also like the idea of possibly creating/re-queening these genetics into my other stock - but need to 'watch' them to see how they do this year.  I'll probably try to create another Nuc from it that way I have 2 VSH genetic hives to compare/contrast to.

This Saturday is the annual Spring Bee conference here in town so I'll be busy with this day.  There are going to be several talks on queen rearing and survivability so that should be exiting to hear. 

Maybe I'll see someone there that I know, that follows this blog ...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Feb 2, 2014 update

Yesterday was a good day to get into the hives and see what was going on since the temp was around 65 degrees and I haven't actually been 'down' into the frames since shutting them up last winter.  So, here's what I wanted to do, and found ..

H1 - the single deep that I was concerned about for several reasons, but mostly because I wasn't seeing as much activity as the other hives during 'good flying' days.  This is also the hive that I'd placed a pollen patty into last Sunday and not replaced the syrup in the top gallon feeder .  It had 3 to 4 frames of bees, some brood and looked pretty healthy considering what I was afraid of.  I had another hive beside it that I lost last week and was concerned about this one also.  Whenever I removed the top, the bees had consumed approx 90 % of the pollen substitute I'd put in there last week and I had 3+ frames of almost fully capped honey stores.  I won't need to feed this hive any more - thankfully.  Here's some pictures of the pollen substitute, or what's left of it -

this was approx 2" wide and 11" long originally

Hmm - the middle must have tasted better then the ends ..
A close up of the buffet..
 I ended up moving what was left over, and giving them another patty to encourage them to continue building up. 

H2 -
This the single deep, with the 2 4-frame nucs sitting on top.  It has had, until yesterday, a top feeder on it.  They'd stopped taking sugar water and I hadn't really 'fed' them in a couple of weeks.  I also noticed some brood, and 3-4 frames of capped honey in it.  I didn't go down into the bottom box (wish I'd had time) but the bees were occupying both "top" 4-frame nuc boxes so I was encouraged about their capacity at this time.  I removed the top feeder, and replaced with an inner cover and regular top cover.

H3 - the mean bee hive ..

This hive is a single deep hive and was, until recently taking allot of sugar water.  I removed the top feeder and put the remainder out in the yard for everyone else to eat off of.  I noticed 4+ frames of capped honey - so they need to eat some more of their stores so the queen has room to lay.  I also noticed the queen yesterday, she looked kind of 'thin' as compared to previous viewings and don't know if this is normal during an over winter process, or not.  I did though see her dropping a egg into one of the cells.  Of course the bees weren't too happy with me removing their 'roof' and I actually got stung 3 times.  If they decide to supersede her this year, that would be fine with me.  This is actually an offspring of the 'original' queen from the Nuc I got bought last year, and has always been a 'mean' hive for some reason.  If they don't supersede her and they continue to be more hostile, then I might have to re-queen this hive this summer some time.

I also noticed a good bit of flight activity from all 3 hives yesterday and also allot of bees coming back with pollen.  I don't know what's blooming right now, but as long as they do - that's all that matters at this time.

Got our monthly bee club meeting tomorrow, and I'll get the timeline for the other 'package' I ordered, and also get a chance to talk to Danny and determine when I can get my other 3 hives back - from where he over-wintered the queens for me.