Home hives are building up

5-8-17 Home hives

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.

Second swarm of 2017

4-23-17 Second swarm of 2017.

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.

Swarm comb!

4-23-17 Swarm building comb

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.

Bees on the farm

4-19-17 Bees moved into the farm.

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.

First swarm of ’17

4-19-17 First swarm of the year.

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.

Queen cell jail

4-15-17 Queens in their cell jails.

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.