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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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Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Ongoing Saga of Proteus A and Proteus Bee


On June 6, I posted that Proteus had a solid box of honey between two boxes of brood. On Beemaster forum, the suggestion was that I put a queen excluder between Box 2 and Box 3 to determine if there were a queen in both boxes. I did that and on June 13 reported that there was new brood in both boxes, indicating that there were two queens.

On that same visit to the hive, I opened up the brood box in Proteus A by taking out the center 6 frames of honey and putting in starter strip and SC filled foundation to encourage the queen to expand rather than leave via swarm. Then I put the queen excluder between Box 2 and Box 3.

After asking around about splitting the hive vs. combining the hive, I decided to split the two hives and give each queen her own place. I did the split on June 16 and posted here that only after I had moved Proteus Bee into her own 8 frame medium hive, I thought about brood and that I had not noticed any new brood in Proteus Bee.

I think that action of opening up the brood nest was a mistake if I wanted to keep both queens alive. My guess is that the bees, with the hive now open top to bottom killed the queen in Proteus Bee before I did the split. I should have left the honey barrier until after doing the split. When I considered that I had not seen any new brood, I decided to add two frames of brood and eggs to Proteus Bee in case they were queenless and needed to make a queen.

Indeed, today when I opened up Proteus Bee, it is full of bees, no new brood, and they have made two supercedure cells, although in this case they did this not to supercede a queen but rather simply to HAVE a queen. Those locations were where the newest and best eggs were in the frame I gave them.

We're about through with the honey flow here. We're in the middle of a drought and I will be thrilled to have another hive. So like the small swarm nuc, I have another hive - this time a split - on its way to being queenright. Let's hope it works.

I watched Proteus Bee this week and found it disconcerting that I rarely saw a bee actually enter the hive. The two hives are side by side and bees would approach the entry to Proteus Bee and fly up and down in confusion. Sometimes they would even land on the bottom board and walk on the landing but then go into Proteus A.

Yesterday I saw a lot of bees orienting to Proteus Bee - must be new foragers - and the population entering Proteus Bee went up considerably. When I opened Proteus Bee today, there were plenty of bees. I had thought I might trade places of Proteus A and Bee to increase the numbers in Proteus Bee. I may yet do that but for now, let's see if the queen emerges.
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