Successful relocation!

On the last visit, the queen was stuck in the wrong section of the hive.  Somehow I trapped her in the honey supers, which is a problem because she was laying eggs in the area where a person generally harvests honey.  No one wants to chew on bee larvae while enjoying honey!

Between visits I went to Nature’s Nectar to explain the situation, and talk bee.  Apparently it is possible (though unlikely) that the new young queen was very small and she could actually fit between the queen excluder grate.  I kind of doubt it, but I appreciated Jim’s comment that it may not have been my fault in trapping the queen in the honey supers.  Nice guy!

At any rate, I visited today and the goal was to check to see if the queen was laying eggs (in the right section of the hive).  And she was!  The honey was brought back up to the supers, but there wasn’t enough to really think seriously about harvesting.  And the queen was in the top box of the three deeps.  There was brood in the middle box as well, but I didn’t see any fully covered frames which is a concern.

At the end of the trip I ended up swapping boxes, so the queen would be on the bottom of the hive to lay brood on the bottom to prepare for winter.  I also placed the inner cover on top of the queen excluder.  A nice trick that Jim taught me to encourage the bees to bring the honey down into the supers.  On the next trip I’ll take the honey supers off and start feeding heavy syrup in addition to laying down a mite treatment strip as a precautionary measure (I haven’t measured).

At this point, I’ve pretty much given up on a harvest (which isn’t too unfortunate,  I hadn’t planned on honey this year), and I’m attempting to encourage the bee’s to create a large store of materials for the winter ahead.  Hopefully the queen will start laying down dense patches of brood…  Not sure why she didn’t thus far… (She did create dense frames in the honey supers!)  This queen seems less efficient than the package queen I started with, but maybe it has to do with her being a younger queen.  Not sure.

A good trip though!  My relocation program worked!  Now it’s time to start thinking about winter!

 

What a fun season!

The queen did what? WHERE!?

Of all the bees that shouldn’t be stuck in the honey supers, how is it that the queen bee found her way there!?  Ugh.  My bad.

When I opened the hive, and looked at a full frame of capped cells in the top super box it looked odd.  The cells looked darker, so then I joking thought “Nah, those aren’t brood cells.”  Then I looked closer, and sure enough – eggs!  And eventually I saw larvae!  So somehow on the last visit I trapped the queen in the two super boxes that I have, and she had bee doing her thing up there, while the rest of the bees were busily moving honey to the lower deep boxes.  Nuts.

Working with bees takes a special kind of patience, and for new bee keepers it takes guts.  I knew that I had to get the queen back to the right place, but without any honey robber, or other means aside from my bee brush… it was going to be an exciting morning.

I spent the rest of the morning thoroughly pissing off 40-60k bees by brushing them off of honey frames (well…honey frames filled with baby bees…).  It was an experience.

Typically, I visit in the morning before the bees start foraging.  I do this because I want to see how most of the population is doing as they are still in the hive.   They are also sleepy, so they aren’t as angry when I’m lifting up frames and looking them over.  This visit was not so calm.  Certainly had the gloves on and the suit.  No question there!

Hopefully on the next visit, the queen is in the deep boxes, and unharmed…  It’s not looking like a honey harvest this year, but that’s fine – I wasn’t really expecting it in the first year anyways.

 

Farmlife

Those cheeky bees just don’t seem to see the end frames. So I moved the empty frames in between the frames where the bees had drawn out comb.  Hopefully they will mind the gap – and FILL IT IN rather than lollygagging on the interior walls of the hive!

I also pulled the feeder pail, and added a second deep box as the bees were now drawing comb on the bottom of the frames – which I’m taking to mean that they (think they) are running out of space.

A great day! (more…)

Don’t cross with thunder

I drove down to Iowa last weekend (bee day: 5/22).  With the end of the world looming, I decided it would be best to check on the bees.  With the wonderful progress last week, it may have been necessary to add the second deep box and to remove the feeder pails!  Surely, it would be time to remove the feeder pails.  At any rate, there was a storm on the horizon, and the farm is on the top of a hill – so I was told it would be unwise to cross the farm at risk of becoming a lightening rod!

(more…)

A new beginning?

Well, it has been ages since any activity on this site.  Time to rebuild and repurpose!  Not quite sure where I’m going with this yet – but stay tuned.  It could get interesting!