Yes indeed…. had a bad year last year in the apiary. Mostly due to my mismanagement and the beetles got crazy and drove everyone away! I installed 3 packages on May 16th and the beetles took over one right away. So it looks like i’m going to freeze some frames and start over with a split.
Here is one of the packages 2 weeks after installment. I put them in one deep, inner cover, 5:3 syurp on top surrounded by a deep box. I figured that the girls needed some food to start since I missed my pickup date for the packages and the bees were sitting in the warehouse an extra day and they looked pitiful. I’m going to spit this one pronto!
As you can see, they ran out of room down below and started building comb in the empty box!
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.