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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

My Cells are Getting Smaller!

My one hive that made it through the winter, Bermuda, had moved into a medium box full of LC honeycomb. The picture on the right is Bermuda as it looks today.

The bees in Bermuda were weak and sickly from a varroa infested winter. I used sugar shakes and treated them with low expectations about growth or honey to help them build their strength slowly. Their queen is a 2006 queen and was still alive and laying well.

As they got stronger I added the next box that you see in the picture with only SC starter strips. When they had drawn out that comb, then I added a third box with SC starter strips.

These bees are thriving and doing great. I don't expect any honey from them this year, as they are doing well to have built up their numbers and collect enough honey for themselves.

Today I found on the Organic Beekeepers Yahoo Group site a file with a measuring tool for determining how small your cells are. You may not be able to access the file without being a member of the group, so some of you may not be able to click on the link above.

Anyway, the tool prints out a ruler of various decreasing cell sizes so that you can see
how your regression is going. I printed it out as per instructions from the author, Michelle Barry, and covered it with clear contact paper (again as per her instructions). I then took it with me to the hives today to try it out.

I only checked one small part of one frame because I didn't want to disrupt the hives too much today - I had opened them on Saturday for a big inspection.

My glove is covering up the measurement and the picture is out of focus (I was too excited to give the camera time to focus!), but the cells on the side of this frame are measuring 5.2, considerably smaller than 5.9 - and that's on the edge of the frame.

I think my girls are adapting well to the small cells. I only measured this one place to see how to use the tool, but I'm looking forward to using it again when I go into the hives
again (which won't happen now for about 10 days).


It's funny to me that the bees in my hives look smaller but the drones look monstrously big!
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