Ok… you’ve probably read my post here about my troubles with my left arm. Couldn’t do inspections for about 5 months. So I needed to make some splits yesterday since it was the first day in about 3 weeks with no rain. I have 3 new queens to install so I selected my “Jack of Spades*” hive since it’s busting at the seams with bees judging by the bearding.
The only time this hive has been open was during my spring state inspection and it wasn’t fully broken down (2 deeps, 3 supers) since the top deep was in great shape sans the SHB which weren’t too many. So now 3 months post inspection and I attempt to go in to select frames for the splits.
I started to work the hive with no veil or jacket. Everything seems quiet on the “western front” as I removed the supers. The top deep was another story. I couldn’t even pry the top deep no matter where on the box I tried to pry. Totally sealed up with propolis So after 30 minutes of frustration (and 10 lbs of sweat) I need an X-Acto knife. Ok now I was on to somthing, the blade went right through the propolis and I was making progress. As I started to pry and separate the top deep from the bottom, the frames from the bottom deep were propolised to the top deep frames. ARGH!! The bees are now not happy at all. 10 stings later, I ran for my jacket!
They didn’t let up. Even with my jacket on, I had them hanging all over me. Smoke wasn’t helping. Well I started inspecting the frames for the ones that I wanted to make the nucs out of. Bees were now even more angry. Then they find my pants leg at my ankle and started making their way North in my pants. I won’t say how North but I think you can get the picture. I was determined to finish the job at task even though I was now suffering from stings on my legs… I lost track after 20. My name must be Job because I took every sting.
I managed to complete the task, creating 3 nucs for my new Queens but the Queens haven’t been installed in the Nucs yet, I had enough for one day.
I’m going to monitor “Jack of Spades” to see if something else is going on because that colony was never like that. The brood pattern on the removed frames where a nice oval patter so it doesn’t look like the Queen is the problem thus far. I did manage to see eggs (no double or triple eggs seen) and larvae . Alittle drone brood in the lower super but nothing alarming.
Still going to physical therapy (past 6 months)for my arm, maybe I should treat it like an arthritis patient and put a few stings to it!
* My colonies have a playing card on them to identify them. I think it help bees orient (visual) when you split and make a Nuc.
Hopefully the weather will permit me to install a few queens that I just received from Rossman Apiaries in Moultrie, GA. My yard needed rain for the past month but now it’s been raining for the past week! ARGH! Attempted to create a few NUC’s for my Queens to be installed into but the rains were coming in about every 45 minutes and the girls were not in a happy mood at all. 40% today, 60% tomorrow and 70% change of rain the rest of the week!
Mel Disselkoen speaks to Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers about OTS Queen Rearing and Miticide-free beekeeping. This is not to be missed if you are serious about beekeeping. Find out more about beekeeping at http://www.indianahoney.org or on Mel’s site at http://www.mdasplitter.com
An inspection or audit usually conjures up fear and anxiety. Not so with the State of Florida annual inspection of your honey bee colonies. I’m always amazed how nice, polite, knowledgeable and helpful the inspectors are. After all they want you to succeed in your hobby or commercial endeavor. Mr. Gary Van Cleef was my inspector yesterday and he went through my colonies like a pro (which he is). This was the first time the hives have been opened since I broke my left arm (Greater Tuberosity Humerus fracture @ the shoulder) Nov 11 last year. Still under doctors’ orders not to lift any heavy objects (which I can’t anyway) while I’m continuing physical therapy as my arm still heals.
Overall the hives were generally healthy. Gary said that hive #1 did indicate there might be an issue with either a failing queen or laying worker. I left the honey supers on all winter since I didn’t get them off before I broke the arm. Good thing I did because they ate the honey in super #1 (#2 top was full of honey) and the queen started laying in the 1st super. Lots of drone cells in the super. I’ll have to take some pictures this weekend and show you what it looks like. I’ve never seen so many drone cells. Swam cells were abundant as well so I definitely need to do some swarm control this weekend ASAP! Also this hive was a little aggressive, more than usual. All of my colonies are pretty docile and I have worked them on occasions with just the smoker and no veil. But during the inspection they were kind of uptight so I need to do a complete inspection of all boxes to find the root of the problem. There were more SHB that I would have like to see but with the warm weather we’ve been having I think that was pretty normal this time of year. Hardly any Varroa mites were seen. This was great because I used my vaporizer for the first time last fall to treat for those pesky mites and it looks like it did a good job.
Hive #2 was a pleasure to work. They didn’t fly around while Gary took the cover and supers off to begin the inspection. Super #2 (Top) was slap full of honey so I guess I’ll still be able to do a late extraction. The queen also started laying in Super #1 so again I’m glad I left the supers on without the queen excluders. Although I don’t like her majesty laying in the supers, she needed to lay in it and I’m glad she did. Nice laying patterns and very little Varroa or SHB seen in this hive. I’m going to make some splits from this colony since I like this queen. Maybe I’ll see her this weekend!
Hive #3 had comb all in the top cover. I mean literally row after row of comb. I have to take a picture of that also. This hive was busting at the seams also as you can probably imagine. Good laying patterns in super #1. Super #2 was full of honey also in this hive. We did notice that there were a few more Varroa than the other hives so I’ll have to treat this soon so the mites don’t get out of control.
I guess I’m pleased that they survived this long for me not being able to go into them for the last 4 months. So now I have to at least do swarm prevention and make some splits. Last year I was late in preparation and had two swarm on me… don’t want that loss again!