Sunday, April 11, 2010

What Are You Doing? No Idea.

Still making this whole beekeeping thing up as we go along.

The plan, and we did we have one, was to dig through the big hive to see how much brood we had. If we had enough uncapped brood we intended to either work on a split or take a couple frames over to the Patheticus hive.

We found the bottom deep full of capped brood. The middle box, which we added last week, had some pollen and nectar, and the bees were drawing out the frames that just had foundation. The top deep, oddly, had capped brood with some uncapped brood around the edges. The queen appears to be laying her more recent babies up top.

A little bewildered, we decided just to reassemble and take a couple frames of brood with younger uncapped brood on it from the top box. We did this, replacing the frames we stole with some drawn out but unused frames we had in storage.

The new, empty frames went beside the hive wall.

We next went into the sad little hive. The top box had a whole lot of nothing in it, so we shook off bees and took it to the porch for bees to clean out. The bottom box had several frames of honey, a frame with capped brood (from last week's donation, we presume). We took out two frames that had a lot of drone brood and replaced it with the worker and uncapped brood from the other hive.

Then, as we were reassembling and closing up, I had a bad thought. The hive we were working had ten frames. We were adding frames from a hive that had nine frames per box. Blast! What if we crunched up the bee space with oversized comb?? (Yet another reason you should never put nine frame dividers in a hive body.)

We went to the porch where we happened to have a hive body with nine frame dividers, COMPLETELY dismantled the hive and put nine frames in a the new deep body, taking out a frame that had a small amount of honey.

Here's the thing. As we were putting the cover back on the little hive, we found a queen bee in the cover!! What the heck? She plopped down on the inner cover and scurried into the hive, but we both saw her.


She could have been our good functional queen from the other hive. If so, she would have had to stow away on the frame even after we tried to shake all the bees off. The bees in the bad hive could be balling her up and murdering her even as we speak.

Or they could accept her and the big hive could make a new queen for themselves.

More likely, she was already in that little mess of a hive. She could be shooting blanks and laying only unfertilized eggs, either because she she is a dud or because she never did the whole mating flight thing, or because she hadn't yet got her groove on.

I just don't know.

Nothing was what I expected today. what?

Pray the weather is good next week to go in and mess with them again.

We need to get the strong hive worked down to two hive bodies with honey supers.

We need to monitor the progress of the weak hive and possibly add more brood? They'll need at least a shallow in a week or so for honey storage.

I just don't know. For now I'll drink ice tea and take a shower.

Oh, and assistant bee keeper got her second sting, again on the leg, but this time by a bee outside the pants leg. So far it doesn't seem like as bad a sting.

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