Hive Report: 13 April 2016

Though not as warm as I’d wished, and much windier than I liked, I thought it was hive inspection time again. Amidst errands and indexing work, I opened both hives on the 13th.

quad feeder base on inner coverSalvia was quick and easy. The queen was in there doing her thing and easily found since she was marked when she arrived here last summer. I found brood in all stages as well as honey and pollen. Looking good but since this is a small colony I’m feeding them. I removed the Miller hive top feeder which I find difficult to handle if there is any syrup still in it (and it seems that there inevitably is). I replaced that with the hive top feeder that I got from Brijean Acres Apiary after a Facebook friend told me how well she like that type of feeder. It sits on the inner cover and holds four quad feeder with jars in placesmall-mouth mason jars. Since my hives are just outside my front door, I can check feed often, so this feeder works well for me. I’m feeding that colony 1:1 sugar syrup with Honey-B-Healthy. (Though they are doing some foraging they are still taking the syrup. When they quit taking it, I’ll quit feeding.)


Rosemarinus was quite a project–three medium hive bodies, two medium honey supers, and then the one honey super for cut comb honey. This inspection of the hive was to check the queen cells and look for a new queen.

That hive still seems to have an incredible number of bees even after that swarm which was small. It was so windy with gusts that made it difficult to use the smoker. Just getting the girls to move so that I could pick up frames by the ends without smooshing bees was difficult. I was wishing for frame grips when I had to resort to picking up some of the frames in the middle.

I didn’t get a full inspection of the two very heavy honey supers but on earlier inspections, there was no brood in them. I did inspect the three medium hive bodies frame by frame. The swarm happened on 24 March. When I looked in the hive on 31 March, there were some queen cells and some brood. On this inspection, I found no eggs, larvae or capped brood but there were open queen cells. Some looked as if they had been opened from the side. I hope that is a sign that there is a queen lurking in the hive, and I just didn’t have a good enough eye to find her. I saw one closed queen cell that I left in place since I didn’t find a queen.

I’m getting a bit antsy since that same day I saw a group of bees (about the size of the original swarm) flying around quite a distance from the hive. They eventually went back to the hive, and I haven’t had bees collected on the outside of the hive as I did with the original swarm. I saw a good example of a virgin queen at our last DCBA meeting so I’m sure that I might well not have seen a queen even if she were in the hive.  Once I do find her, she will get mark so that it’s easier to find her amongst all the other bees.

Now I have to wait. Not patiently, but wait to see if the colony is going produce their own queen or do I need to purchase one from a supplier. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the colony will (maybe even already has) provide a queen–these seem to be very gentle, productive girls. I like that!


Hive report: swarm!

clusters of honeybees on the hive

Swarm in the making!

I’ve just collapsed in my chair at my desk, heaved a huge sigh of relief,  mopping sweat off my face, and guzzling cold water–and thinking that I may be one of the luckiest beekeepers around.

I was planning to do a sugar roll test today.  I went out to take a look at the hive and was greeted by this! It clear and warm today, but the wind is quite gusty–in fact, so gusty as to make a smoker useless. I was debating about the sugar roll when a bee landed–more like was blown onto my shoulder. That bee was immediately followed by others buzzing all around me, and following me.

With sufficient craning of my neck, I saw a blue dot!  OMG! It was the queen.

I caught her in my hand carefully–made a mad dash into the house and got a quart mason jar, a ring, a paper towel, and my bee brush. I put her in the jar, went back to the hive, brushed some of that cluster of bees into the jar with her, and found her a shady spot while I opened the hive and did a sort-of split–very rapidly. I had the second hive ready, but I’d have liked to have been a little more organized about it. I pulled frames with honey and brood to put in the second hive with some empty frames with foundation, brushed up some more bees to add, and then put the queen into the new hive.

It was a bit hectic around the hive–bees everywhere so I didn’t get to do a full inspection though I did look through all four boxes (mediums). There is a closed queen cell in the big hive, though.

Too windy to use a smoker, bees getting ready to swarm, and after about an hour and a half I was only stung once (my first time). That was because I put a finger where I should not have. Tomorrow morning, I’ll put a hive top feeder on that hive–not to mention a quick trip to Bailey Bee Supply for an empty super and foundation for the #1 hive. They’ve drawn all the comb and it looks crowded in there even with those that have left.

Love my bees!

two bee hives