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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.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hyron Doesn't Like Me to Be A Homewrecker

Hyron, the hive made from the swarm I caught in the office parking lot, is not particularly pleased with me. As swarms go, Hyron was a small swarm. I brought it straight home and put the swarm colony in my lure hive on the deck. The lure hive was composed of old yucky frames in an old box, but it was the only place I had to house the bees on short notice.

Immediately you may remember, the bees began housecleaning. I wondered how they would think of the beekeeper since I had supplied them with a rather lousy place to live. At the end of the day, they had swept the hive clean of clutter and set about bee-ing bees.

My own theory about this swarm is that they had a virgin queen. Often a hive will "throw" a swarm in which the old queen leaves with half the hive population. After the original swarm several after swarms may occur with a daughter of the now-absent queen. These queens are usually virgin queens.

This means that the queen has to fly off to be mated and successfully return to the new hive before any real action starts.

Hyron besides demonstrating excellent housekeeping, showed little growth at the beginning. I never fully checked for eggs because in the disreputable hive I gave them, there was a broken frame and this was the frame on which the population seemed to be concentrated. I just assumed that the queen was laying on that frame and went on with life.

Before I went out of town at the beginning of May, I put an extra box on Hyron but still didn't check for eggs. The hive was installed on April 1.

If the queen were a virgin, then she would have had to orient to the hive, fly away and return safely. She would then start laying, but her first eggs would not be bees for 21 days. At best, we might have had new bees emerging at the beginning of May.

When I looked truly into the hive this past weekend, I did see eggs and a beginning of brood build-up. This was the first really "deep" inspection I had ever done of this hive in the two months it has been in my beeyard.

Hyron's bees were not happy. One sneaked onto my sock and zapped me on my ankle. Another stung me on my knee through my beesuit. They head-butted me throughout the time I had the hive open. They are used to being left alone, so they must have experienced me as quite the homewrecker. I never smoke the bees, but I smoked these just so I could see what I was doing.
I am delighted that they do have eggs and brood. So best wishes, Your Majesty, live long and lay lots of babies.

I also noticed that in the hurry of a previous inspection I had failed to slide the next to the bottom box on Mellona all the way back flush with the bottom box. You can see the slight jut-out on the hive in the right side of the picture between boxes 1 and 2.



The bees have been using this as a mid-entrance! The next two pictures were taken close-up from the top
of the hive looking into the opened crack.

You can see the glee of the bees, having a new entrance to their hive.
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