Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spring morning swarm catching

 What better to do on a gorgeous spring day than to catch a low hanging swarm with your friends?

'Twas a smallish cluster, but neatly formed, that swarmed just after lunch yesterday.  They were just starting to swarm when I had to go back to work after lunch.  Found them last night, too late to do anything about it.

Three times we raised a bucket, hooked the branch with another pole and emptied the bucket full of bees into our nuc box.

We believe we caught the queen, and the bees seem to be moving right in.  You can see them raising their rear ends (picture below) to release the Nasonov pheromone to let the other bees know this is home.

Tonight the bees will go home with Dr. Becca to start a new life in her apiary.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Inspection

Last year was not a year for blogging, apparently, but we are still keeping bees. The hive with last year's captured swarm died over the winter, but the two remaining hives were busting at the seams on Sunday.

We overwintered an odd configuration of a super on the bottom and two deeps on top.  Sunday the two deeps of both hives were chock full of bees.  The hive to the left has a mason jar feeder on the top with a deep box around it.  The right hive has had plenty of their own honey and we haven't fed them.

You can see the beautiful "peanut butter smear pattern" of the capped brood on this frame.  The yellow spots around the edges are pollen.  The larger caps on the top left and the bottom center are drone cells, or baby boys.


We got brave on Sunday and made two splits.  We took 3 frames of brood and a frame of honey out of the right hive; four frames of brood and a frame of honey out of the left hive.  If these two new hives successfully make their own queens and survive, they are bound for hives at UNCA.  At the very least, the two original hives now have five frames of drawn out empty comb to work with as they continue to build up for spring.