Seems one of my best nucs (or former best nuc) has succumbed to the dreaded Small Hive Beetle (SHB). Not sure what exactly has happened since this was a booming nuc, one that I made 3 splits off this spring. It was a mess and sad at the same time to see this happen. I need to obviously check the nucs more frequently to make sure this doesn’t happen to the others. I’ll update this post with pics later so you can see the disaster up front and close.
I had another 3 deep hive 2 weeks ago (and I should have taken a picture) that I inspected and there were probably several hundred dead SHB in the inner cover. The hive is tilted forward a bit and there was a mound in the corner. This is the worst year for SHB that I have encountered. I’m into Integrated Pest Management, known as IPM, using screen bottom boards and beetle traps. The good thing is that this hive is booming with bees and they were able to keep the suckers in check. Still a little unnerving to say the least. I guess I need to use more traps or find some other method to deal with them.
This morning it was 68°F so I was surprised that this Nuc was bearding like it was. Looks like I need to take a peak inside just to make sure this is just bearding and not a lack of space issue. I split this Nuc 2 ways several weeks ago since there were swarm cells on 3 frames. This Nuc was an overwintered one, split from one of my other hives. I ordered some queens from Rossmans for several of these nucs and this latest batch are the most gentle Italians that I have encountered. I don’t even smoke this Nuc or the other 2 that I split from this one. It’s nice to be able to do that! I have another colony that I’ll get popped just walking close by! So next week I’m going to dispatch that queen and try the OTS notch method with a frame from this nuc and hopefully that colony will raise a nice, gentle queen.
In case you are wondering, that white object is a playing card that I attached to the nucs since they were all painted the same color and are positioned close together. I figured that it might help with orientation.
The second picture shows the nuc and another colony sitting on a 10 foot section of Rohn 20 (radio tower). Finally found a good use for them!
Wow… with all my other websites… I didn’t I think I neglected this one so bad! Sorry folks!
Saturday I was getting ready to do inspections and most likely some splits. As I was getting all my tools ready, one of my overwintered Nucs decided to swarm. I wish I had taken video of it but I was anxious to try and split it before they actually swarmed. I know folks are probably saying why because when they decide to swarm, they are going to no matter what you do!
This queen that I got from Rossmans in Moultrie Ga last year produced the most gentle bees that I have encountered. This is the first hive (actually nuc) that I can work without smoke! I wanted to spread her genes out since I have 2 hot hives that I need to re-queen and I want to keep this line active so I can requeen the others.
As they were pouring out of the nuc and swirling in the air, I opened it up and did a quick inspection. I didn’t find my red dot queen from last year but I did see one supercedure cell and multiple swarm cells on 4 frames. The supercedure cell made me question what the heck was going on in the nuc but all I can figure is that either the queen just left or something happened to her. The brood pattern on 3 frames was awesome, almost a perfect oval and lots of capped cells. But I didn’t see any fresh eggs or larvae… so something was amiss.
At any rate, I managed to get two splits from this one nuc, adding some frames of brood and eggs from one of my other hives. I have to keep an eye on these two nucs and see how they will do in the next few days. I desperately want to keep this queens genetics going in the apiary.
This weekends weather is not going to be that great for any inspections or splits since there is a 50-70% chance of rain on Saturday & Sunday.
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!
Really weird… I guess I was not on top of things. Came home from work yesterday and 2 spare Nucs that I had sitting in the bee yard now have full time residents! Very small late summer swarms (probably only 2000 bees or so) but this is the first time this has happened to boxes laying around.
So this weekend I’ll do inspection on the double-deep hives and do alittle checker-boarding to provide more room for laying.
After cooking up the batch of the 5:3 syurp, I put on the first quart on this nuc. I should have guess it but I was still suprised that it was empty this morning. Put on another and I’ll see how long today it last. I’m alittle nervous about this nuc since I’ve never had a nuc raise a queen from scratch since I’ve had queen cells and that has seemed to work out. So I hope that I got enough early larvae in the brood mix that I transferred to this nuc. I will be looking for some cells today on hive #2 and #3 since I didn’t look into the bottom deeps on either hive when I was inspecting last week. Keep your fingers crossed.
Here are a couple of pics from this morning. Turns out the camera xD memory card was loose in it’s slot yesterday so the camera is not 10-7 like I thought.