Saturday, May 12, 2012

3 hives queenless...

Just a quick update for my records. I found 3 queenless hives this afternoon when I did my checks.

Orange hive
No queen and no queen cells. Still full of bees so I left them alone. I'm going to try and contact Russells this weekend and see if I can get the order I placed sped up. If I don't hear from them by Wednesday morning I'll add some eggs to let them try again to raise a queen. Not sure what happened but I have a feeling it has to do with all the swarms from this hive.

Blue Hive
No queen but they have built a couple supercedure cells. I'll let them go and check them next week.

Stained Hive
I couldn't find a queen in the hive nor could I find any cells. After closing up the hive I decided to pull the board I had in to close off the bottom. After watching a bunch of bees fall out I noticed a big fat queen walking around on one of the stand blocks. I placed her inside the hive but have a feeling she was injured when I removed the bottom board. I'm not sure how she got down there or why as this hive was ok a bit ago. I'll wait until Wednesday before adding anything.

Kenny Nuc
Didn't notice a queen so I added another frame of eggs and bees from the natural nuc.

The rest of the hives looked good and all had a queen including the Cierra nuc. I don't believe she's mated yet however.

Also I plan to cut some wood this evening to put in front of the hives to close off the bottom. I think this has been one of my problems with the Orange and Stained hives. All the hives will get a piece of wood in front of them to prevent this. New hive stands will be built wider to keep this from happening.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another day another swarm...

Orange Hive
I found another large swarm from the Orange hive this evening. I was unable to get it given its location but I did try a few times. This hive just won't stop. That makes 3 swarms so far and the hive is still jam packed with bees. I pulled 2 splits out of it this evening and made up 2 nucs. I even shook a buncha bees in them to cut down on numbers. I went through the hive to see if I could find any swarm cells and I did find 2 of them. One is a nice big fat one at the bottom of a frame and another is smaller and in the middle of the frame. I'll give them a few days and check it again to see if it's hatched. Theres no eggs that I could see and very little brood left to hatch. Hopefully no more swarms. I'm thinking they had a bunch of queen cells and the new queens are swarming when they hatch given it's so crowded in the hive. I need to pick up some frames ASAP and do a even split with this hive. There's 6 empty frames and an empty medium super up top now that they can draw out. Maybe that'll keep them busy. I also pulled the super of honey/drone brood from this hive to the let other hives rob out.

Kenny Nuc
I attempted to put 2 swarms in this nuc with no luck. I either didn't get the queen or they didn't have one and the bees always went back to Orange hive after putting them in this one. This time I took 2 frames of bees and honey/pollen from the Orange hive and a frame of eggs from the Natural nuc to slow them down a bit. We'll see if they take but I did notice they set up guard bees after a little bit so I'm hoping it's good. I also shook a few frames of bees from the orange hive into this hive to give them some numbers.

Cierra Nuc
Took 2 frames of honey/pollen from the Orange hive and a frame of eggs from the Natural nuc and set up this nuc. As with the Kenny nuc I shook in a few frames of bees to give them numbers. They've also set up guard bees so I have my fingers crossed. I noticed last time with the big swarm and small swarm I tried to hive they never set up guards. Maybe that's some sort of sign they are or aren't staying. 

I plan to build more of my own wooden ware this weekend or early next week. I'm down to 2 nucs and 22 deep frames, 1 deep super, and 2 medium supers with frames. I plan to place an order with Mann Lake in the very near future to order 100 deep and 100 medium frames. That should keep me going for a while and building my own hives and supers will save me a nice chunk of change. The local bee suppliers are hard to get in touch with or don't have it in stock. I have a hard time with hunting down folks or waiting around so they can sell me something when I can build it for more than half the price. I may need to pay one of them a visit though for frames if I run out before ordering from Mann Lake.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A quick look and see today...

I got into all the hives today and everyone had a queen except for the Orange hive and Stained hive. I'm planning on a real good check on everything this weekend and I'll probably make a couple of splits from the White hive. They were busting at the seams today and I added a empty medium with drawn comb to give them a place to store some honey. The blue nuc also got another deep super over it. No word yet from Russells about the queens but I'm in no rush as I'm running out of gear. I'm starting to think I should just go ahead and order some frames and build more stuff on my own. No luck with one local guy having anything in stock until next week and the other guy doesn't answer the phone. If I don't hear from the other guy before the weekend I may just make a trip to lowes.

Also the swarm I hived the other day left the nuc. Most of the bees returned to the orange hive and a small cluster reformed on the branch near the one I cut down. I cut it down and took it over to the Kenny nuc and placed them in it. We'll see if they stay or not. I'll also check for a queen as I didn't see one today. If they are still there and there's no queen I'll give them a couple of frames from the White hive.

Also I believe the queen from the blue nuc ended up on my veil when I was checking the hive somehow. I went to check the orange nuc and watched a sunkist colored queen land on top of the orange hive before I opened it. I noticed a bee on my veil when checking the blue nuc and thought it rather big so I left it alone. I'm guessing it was the queen and she flew to the top of the orange hive when I walked over. Not 100% certain though. Anyway, I let her crawl onto my hive tool and walked her over to the blue nuc. She crawled right in without any of the guard bees causing a fuss so I'm guessing that's where she came from. We'll see I guess.