Saturday, April 21, 2012

It was a really busy day with the bees!

So a couple of posts ago I talked about and showed a video of my stained hive swarming and appearing to return to the hive. Well today after checking all the hives I found out... Not so much...

White Hive
Looked good. They are still building nicely and saw lots of eggs and brood. Didn't look for the queen as it looked like a storm was coming and the wind was picking up.

Stained Hive
Well this was a shocker. As I said above the swarm that left on the 8th appeared to return into the hive but after a thorough check today of this hive and not finding any eggs or larva I started tearing it apart looking for a queen. To my surprise I found a queen inside the bottom super on the 3rd frame. No eggs or brood around her but we'll get into that in a bit. So while looking for the queen I noticed that there was what appeared to be capped honey on the bottom board screen. Upon closer inspection it turns out it's not capped honey, it's comb. This hive has a hive living under it. I guess the swarm didn't go back inside after all. They built a nice little nest in 1/4 of the screen bottom board that I will have to cut out. Not sure if I'll combine it back with the hive above it or put it into it's own nuc though. It's supposed to rain and be cooler for the next few days so I have until Thursday at least to decide. I'll see if my buddy can help and offer some guidance with it and I'll be sure to get it on video. I have an idea to get them down using a heat gun and a box though.

Also these girls were a bit testy today and after being a little rough I got my first sting of the year... Right to the knee. I'll have to tell my niece we're even now after she got stung last week watching me inspect the hives.

Blue Hive
They have their own queen and she's laying eggs already. She was a nice fat little girl and I was excited to see her for the first time. I'll see about getting a photo of her next time I'm in the hive. Everything else looked good also and there's still a lot of bees in the hive.

Orange Hive
Well these girls got a little impatient and swarmed today. I knew it was coming but didn't expect it to happen today. More on that below. The hive looked good and they had some capped queen cells. I didn't pull it all apart however but will next week just to be sure everything is ok. There's still a very large amount of bees left inside this hive.

Blue Nuc
Still full of bees. They've made about 10 queen cells on the frame I put in last week. I reckon the girls want a queen badly.

Orange Nuc
I was a little worried when I first opened the hive up and didn't see the queen cells. I started to second quess myself and thought maybe I had damaged it or something while inspecting last week. Or heck, maybe that what I thought was a queen cell wasn't. But then to my surprise I see this beautiful little queen crawling around on one of the frames. She is a little small but boy was I excited. This was the first queen I've raised  and the start of creating my own strain of bee. I can't wait to see how she's doing next week when I check on them.

Natural Nuc
This is the new nuc I created from the sunkist swarm. The basketball size cluster found a nice peach tree to hang out in while the scouts were out looking for a new home. I took the swarm trap down from the barn loft and shook them into it after adding some lemongrass oil to a frame. The swarm was big enough I felt it needed another nuc box on top. I'll have to pick up a hive or build one very soon for these girls. Given this was my first real swarm catch (the other caught themselves) I was very excited. The bees were very docile and went right into the hive. Hopefully they will stay. It's started to rain and is forecasted to continue the next few days so that may keep them there. I'll need to add a feeder though just to be safe and will do so this evening or tomorrow if the rain stops for a few minutes.

Swarm and hiving video

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