Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bee Vlog - May 4, 2013

Dulce & Elizabeth
I moved the baited swarm, Queen Elizabeth, to their new home. It's a very small colony. Only occupying half of 3 frames. But there are eggs present and they seem to be doing well.

Queen Dulce is really doing superb. 7 of the frames are drawn down. There's eggs and plenty of food coming in.

Both swarms started at the same time, but with significantly different numbers. So it should be interesting to see how they compare to each other.

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Catherine & Guinevere
The swarm I caught on May 1, Queen Guinevere, needed to be moved to their new home. This was a more simple move of just closing up the hive the night before, moving it, then opening it back up again. I guess I moved this one far enough away that no foragers or drones came back to their old location.

I checked the bottom empty box on Queen Catherine to see if they've moved in there yet. I suppose they don't need the room yet because they haven't moved down there.

My attempt to do even a minor inspection without a smoker was not the best idea. I did get an aggressive sting. The bees were much more on guard this time.

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Beatrice & Flora
Queen Catherine came from a hive I cut out of an RV last week. I didn't need to do an inspection, but I was curious about what happened to the queen cells I left them with. It turns out that the hive changed its mind about swarming and/or requeening and has destroyed the queen cells.

I suppose at the time of the cutout I could have just split the hive. I had a queen and knew where she was. I also had queen cells. But because cutouts are such a mess, and the hive really has to spend some time healing (it's basically like a major surgery), I didn't want to take any risks. Besides I didn't know if either the queen cells or the queen had become damaged in the process. So I kept it just as one hive and let the bees figure it out.

Queen Beatrice is a really strong colony. They haven't made too much progress in the new top box, which I'm okay with. I don't really want them growing too fast anyway. I'll take slow and steady.

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Lost Foragers
When I relocated Queen Elizabeth from the bait hive to their new location, I only moved them about 1/4 mile. There's an old saying that you have to move them 2 feet or 2 miles. Anything in between and the foragers can go astray and not make their way back to their new home. Well, this was an opportunity for me to learn that lesson the hard way.

There are ways to move a hive less than 2 miles, but I didn't observe those methods here. When I moved them I closed them up at night to make sure everyone was home. Then the next morning I moved them to the new spot, took the frames out and put them in the new hive. Unfortunately, the bees that didn't get put into the hive just flew off, not really knowing where they were, but they seemed to know the way back to the old place.

What I should have done instead is move them to the new spot and either leave them there closed up for 3 days, or just open the entrance and stuff some grass into it. Either way would force them to take orientation flights and reset their homing flight path. After they reorient I could then transfer the frames to the other box.

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