Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bee Vlog - August 25, 2012

Hive weigh-in:
Queen Anne - (Too heavy to get a good reading, but I got individual readings of the boxes)
Boxes 1 & 2 together containing the brood nest, some food storage, and the bottom board: 72.4 lbs
Box 3 alone: 62 lbs (about 50 lbs of just honey)
Box 4 alone: 43.6 lbs (about 30 lbs of just honey)
Queen Beatrice - 84.6 lbs (+4.2 lbs from 2 weeks ago)

In today's inspection I talk a little about my efforts in treatment-free beekeeping. I do some cell size measurements and explain the importance of cell size to maintaining a healthy treatment-free hive. Queen Anne's cells are still measuring at 5.4mm...the same as the foundation they came from. Her daughters are the 1st generation to be raised in a foundationless hive, so they are still drawing out cells to the same size. It's going to take a few generations to get them to regress to a smaller cell.

Queen Beatrice's cells are a little smaller though - ranging in size from 5.1 to 5.4mm. This tells me they were either a feral hive, once managed a few generations ago, or came from a managed foundationless hive that has had a few generations since they have used foundation. Either way they're likely from strong survivor stock. A very good sign.

Housel positioning seems to be a controversial subject. Here are two differing opinions/resources.

BeeSource: Housel Positioning – How I View Its Importance To Beekeeping!
Bee Natural Guy: Housel Positioning – Seeing is believing. Or is it?

Some beekeepers swear by it while others seem to notice no difference. I was curious to see if I could observe my bees creating a Housel pattern naturally. But that just doesn't seem to be the case. I saw on a few frames that the pattern can vary across a single frame. There doesn't seem to be any uniformity. I believe that the bees don't really seem to care about such things. I suspect there's some placebo effect at play for the beekeepers that notice improved behavior when positioning their foundation in a Housel pattern.

Video Link

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