Saturday, April 3, 2010

Boom and Bust--April 3 hive check--BOOM hive

The left hive is as healthy as the Droneville hive is pathetic. There have been great clouds of worker bees bringing in nectar and pollen. Our concern with this hive is that they will get too crowded and swarm.
Sure enough, we had a hive full of bees, brood and honey. We had left the hive with a honey super on top. It still had lots of honey (it was HEAVY) and it had some capped brood in the middle of it. We rotated this super down to the bottom of the hive after checking it carefully to make sure we didn't trap the queen down at the bottom, since queens don't like to walk across honey.
The picture above, shows what capped brood SHOULD look like...beautiful coverage, smooth tops!!

We found the queen, although she quickly ducked out of sight. The very top picture in this post is me trying to catch her in a picture right as she scurried away.

There were no swarm cells, but the bees were indeed all packed in with no place to go. There was very little open brood, which we think was a result of running out of open cells in which to lay eggs. We added a deep, and put a three frames of drawn out but empty comb in the middle of the main brood box, and then put two of the frames of brood in the new empty deep, and one frame of brood in the Droneville hive (see Bust post, below).

This will give them room to expand, and should slow down any inclination to swarm for a while. In the long run, we still plan to split this hive. Probably next week, when we hope to have lots of uncapped brood. At the very least, we'll keep transferring brood over to the Droneville hive for a while to see if we can get their act together.

We reversed the hive bodies, from bottom to top we have the shallow super, the main hive body with brood, the new hive body with mostly empty frames and some frames with just foundation, the deep that had been on the bottom that now has pollen and nectar.

One last note....I was much, much, much more comfortable working the bees than I have been in the past. Practice makes perfect. We inspected almost every frame in both hives.

Kept the smoker going, too.


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