Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bee Vlog - July 29, 2012

Hive weigh-in:
Queen Anne: Unknown - so heavy it was breaking the scale and I couldn't get a weight. I need to rebuild and strengthen the hive scale.
Queen Beatrice: 58.6 lbs (+4.2 lbs from 10 days ago)

The Queen Anne hive is doing well and continues to bring in honey. I only inspected the top honey super today. I found them building up the honeycomb so thick that it looks like they are making 2 layers of cells on each face. So a single frame has 4 layers of honey cells instead of the usual 2. I'm not sure if this happens frequently with honey in foundationless frames or if it's a strange by-product of me essentially giving them the spacing to do so. There's really nothing I can do about it though, so I took out an empty frame and spaced things out a little more to give them more room on the adjacent frames for building out the comb properly. It should be interesting to see how things turn out with this box.

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The swarm colony (Queen Beatrice) is still doing well without being fed. But they are building up slower than Queen Anne did her first couple of months. (By this time Queen Anne's hive was twice the size and I was adding a third box.) They also built crooked comb on every frame that was crossing over and attaching to the adjacent frames. This made it impossible to inspect without tearing things apart and destroying good comb. So I did a little surgery and straightened the comb out. I think I did a pretty good job of fixing things, but the bees will need to properly re-attach the comb. I was impressed with how calm the bees remained throughout the "surgery." They only got a little noisy and restless on the last frame where I had to cut out a major section of comb and relocate it. But even then they didn't show any signs of aggression, just annoyance.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bee Vlog - July 19, 2012

Hive weigh-in
Queen Anne: 180.6 lbs (+13.4 in 12 days)
Queen Beatrice: 54.4 lbs (only +0.4 in 12 days, seems weird)

Checking on the honey super and seeing if they stopped back-filling the brood on the 3rd box. It looks like the bees had different plans than what I wanted and they went ahead and back-filled the brood nest on the 3rd box with honey, even though I gave them extra room. So perhaps they know something I don't know, or I gave them the honey super too late and they had already made up their mind to do so anyway. So not much honey got added to the honey super, but the 3rd box is full of honey.

At first I thought I should take some honey out. I'm not really sure why I thought that would be the thing to do. But after looking things over, and seeing that they still had a good sized brood nest with a good pattern in the 2nd box, I decided that I'm just going to leave everything as-is. If they continue to bring in more honey I'm hoping they'll put it up in the honey super. Then I can share it with Queen Beatrice who will not have enough stores when winter comes.

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The brood nest and pattern is still looking good with Queen Beatrice. The population is growing, but they still haven't managed to draw out the comb in all 10 frames yet. And the comb they have drawn out is crooked on the one end and bridging to the next frame. A pattern they propagated across the frames. This wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't crossing the frames. It's making for a very messy inspection where I tear the comb apart while separating frames. I may have to figure out a way to straighten the comb. I know this can sometimes be an issue with foundationless frames and top bar hives, so I'm sure somebody has already comb up with a solution.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Bee Vlog - July 7, 2012

Hive weigh-in
Queen Anne: 163 lbs (+13 lbs in just 3 days!!)
Changed bottom board, added top entrance. New baseline: 167.2 lbs
Queen Beatrice: 54 lbs (+5 lbs in 3 days!)

I go through a full inspection, starting from the bottom box this time. I think I like this method. The weather has been really good to the bees and they've been bringing in a lot of nectar. But it looks like they're letting some of the honey encroach on the brood nest. So I moved a couple frames of honey from the 3rd box up into the 4th box to open the brood nest up a bit.

I didn't like the bottom board on Queen Anne's hive, so I changed that out for a sturdier one. I also added a top entrance to help relieve some of the congestion and give the foragers better access to the honey super.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bee Vlog - July 4, 2012

Hive weigh-in
Queen Anne: 137.6 lbs (+7.2 lbs from 4 days ago)
Added a new empty super. New baseline: 150 lbs
Queen Beatrice: 49 lbs (+0.2 lbs from 4 days ago)

No inspection today. Just adding a honey super. The weather is good, summer is finally here. I'm not sure if a nectar flow is on right now, but if there is they'll need the room.

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Showing our little patch of bee-friendly wildflowers. We planted Bachelor's Button, Phacilia (in bloom now), Borage (also in bloom), Catnip (didn't come up), Lemon Balm, & Lemon Mint.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Bee Vlog - June 30, 2012

Hive weigh-in
Queen Anne: 130.4 lbs (+13.4 lbs from last week!!)
Queen Beatrice: 48.8 lbs (+1.3 lbs from last week)

Lousy weather for an inspection today. On and off rain. Sometimes heavy, sometimes light. Never quite knowing when it would hit again. But I needed to do a quick inspection to get an idea of the state of their food stores. So I didn't go through the entire hive, I just looked through a few frames to see how much honey I could find. Once I was happy with what I found I closed things up.

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