The hives at home are building up nicely. The hives with a 4th box are already producing excess honey. We’ve had good weather this spring and are hoping to get a good harvest from a few of these. Others will be used to supplement the building hives at the farm.
Our first swarm is still building comb, and fast! Here are a few frames of beautiful white comb. As bees walk on the comb over time, the pollen on their feet stain the wax it’s usual yellow color. This wax hasn’t Continue reading “Spring swarm still building comb”
I’ve put feeders on at the farm. This will help them with brood population and comb building in their first year buildup.
I’m trying a new idea this year to easily identify the queens in each hive. I made tags for each queen I have. The main block has Continue reading “Queen tracking at the hive”
Today I found another swarm, near the same location as the first. This swarm was large, not quite as big as a basketball. I’m still trying to figure out where these are coming from. All the hives here at home have marked queens, and they were still in place when checked after the first swarm was found. Both swarms have unmarked queens. I have a guess which hive they are from, but it’s still a mystery.
My first swarm has been building comb for just a few days and have built out 3 and a half frames already! It’s amazing how fast these gals can build when they’re in this mindset.
Today was the day. At the house I had a hive that was VERY full with bees, and a full 30 frames. about 20 frames were brood, and about 10 honey. They were meaner than I’d like. I’ve been stung by them at times even just walking nearby for a look, something none of the other hives ever care about. Rather than scrap them all, they’ll be the founders for the new farm hives. Once the new queens begin laying, her gentler bees will replace these. I took the 30 frames with bees to the farm and split them across 8 hives (2 will be populated from a pair of double nucs I wintered). I was able to put 3 or 4 frames in each hive, doing my best to balance frame composition (brood, honey, pollen, free space) and bees. When I found the queen, I kept her and that frame aside. I’ll return it to her original location to build back up again. In this depleted state they should be far less aggressive, and allow me time to generate her replacement. I’ll give them a few days to notice their queen is gone so they’ll accept the replacements I’m installing soon.
On my return from work today, I found this little gem in a tree about 20 feet in front of my home hives. I was able to collect them and install into a double nuc. I gave them a frame of comb to settle on, and 3 empty frames to draw out.
Here’s a frame of bees hard at work making a new queen, seen in the peanut shaped cell on the right end of the frame. Continue reading “Busy bees making a new queen.”
Here are the cells I grafted earlier, now moved from the bar to cell jails. This specially designed bar holds each cell in a separate jail where she can emerge. The worker bees can feed her through the screen. Queens will actively hunt down other queens and unemerged cells to kill the others. This jail prevents that from happening.