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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!
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

And in the Home Beeyard, my Troubles Continue

My strongest hive, Bermuda, I opened to inspect on Saturday, the 5th. There were a ton of hive beetles under the top cover. I wanted to go into this hive to see what is what as I get them ready for winter. This hive is full of bees, but as I inspected, it is also full of troubles.

There are little to no stores in this hive. I only took one super of honey from this hive and they had heavy boxes and still have five boxes on the hive. The bottom box held almost nothing but pollen filled frames.



The second and third boxes each had three frames of a beautiful brood pattern - especially this late in the year. The two sets of three frames of brood were not on top of each other. Three were on the right side of the second box and three were on the left side of the third box.

There was almost no honey in this hive. I haven't been feeding it because it had two full boxes on the top, but those are almost empty now.



So my plan for the bees in Bermuda is to rearrange the hive. I plan to take the six brood frames and put them all in the same box. I am going to move the empty-of-brood-but-full-of-pollen bottom box up and put the created brood box on the bottom with some of the pollen frames in it and any frames of honey I can find. While I'm at it, I'm going to put the Freeman beetle trap that was on the now defunct Blue Heron hive on the bottom of this hive.

I'm going to reduce the hive to three medium boxes and feed it like crazy between now and the first frost which in Atlanta is around mid November. The three boxes will be a brood box on the bottom, a box of pollen and any honey frames I can find, a box of empty drawn frames in which to store sugar syrup. I'll put a fourth box on the hive to surround a baggie feeder and will feed this hive like mad.

Then I opened the nuc that I brought back from Blue Heron with the other (inadequate) queen and a queen cell on one frame. Cockroaches ran out of the top of the hive. The feed bag which had not been emptied the week before was still full with sugar syrup hardened over one of the slits and a dead bee on it (I didn't take pictures....when I find depressing bee news, I often am so shocked that I forget about the camera).

There was no sign on any frame that these bees had a queen. And the queen cell that was on one frame on August 20th was nowhere to be seen. They had a full deep frame of honey (I operate no deep boxes at home).

I'm going to open that hive up today and if there is still no sign of a queen, I'm doing a newspaper combine to put these bees in the hive next to the nuc - Aristaeus2 - which has been thriving all year.

I hope it all works. At this point, I'll be lucky to make it through the winter with maybe 2 hives surviving.

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2 comments:

  1. Sounds like it's going to be a hard winter for the bees if they don't get a queen. :( Here's to hoping for the best, they still have a few months(?) to prepare...and so do you!

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  2. The hive at the bottom has a great queen. So if the combination works, these bees will be absorbed into the hive with the well-functioning queen who is in the bottom hive of the combo.

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