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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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Monday, June 13, 2011

Trouble....Right Here at Blue Heron



We haven't looked at the Blue Heron hives in over a month and we were scheduled to do an inspection there on Saturday.   Julia, Noah and I went over on Sunday to see how things were going.

When we last looked in on them on May 8, we had lots of trouble:  Julia's hive was moving slow as molasses and hadn't showed signs of thriving in any way.  My hive had been split, but the split occurred after a swarm from the hive and neither side of the split successfully raised a queen.

At that time we recombined the split into one hive and gave them two frames of brood and eggs from Lenox Pointe to see if they would get themselves back together and raise a queen.  We purposefully left the hive alone for a month to allow them to calmly and successfully raise a queen.

Beekeeping is often a gamble - just like the trouble in River City in the video - only we are gambling that the bees will function the way we hope they will.

Since an inspection is scheduled for this coming Saturday, Julia and I thought we should see what's what at Blue Heron.  And we found out:

We got Trouble, right here at Blue Heron.....with a capital T and that rhymes with BEE - so there you have it, trouble, trouble, trouble.........

Julia's hive as you will see in the slide show below was full of honey.  As a matter of fact, they had run out of room and had back-filled all the empty cells in the brood box.with nectar,  The hive didn't have any larvae or eggs because the queen couldn't find space.  And we discovered this problem because of the rest of the Trouble.

We opened my hive at Blue Heron to find that once again they had failed to make a queen.  This hive has had no queen for two months now, but amazingly has not developed a laying worker - probably because they did make a queen but she didn't successfully mate or return from her mating flight.

We decided to get frames of brood from Julia's hive to give them - which is how we discovered her back-fill nectar Trouble.

So Noah and Julia went home (after Noah sampled a hive tool section of delicious honey from their hive).  I went home too to find brood and eggs in one of my home hives.

OK, you'll remember that Colony Square is now six boxes high and Lenox Pointe is doing well also.  I went into Lenox Pointe because it is smaller.  I went into the top three boxes and found lovely honey, but no brood or eggs.  I determined that the hive desperately needed another box so I put one on, but didn't find a frame to take to Blue Heron.

There's no way I would be willing to take all the boxes off of Colony Square to find brood and eggs so I turned to the small swarm hive.  In it I found that two of the brood combs were built in cross comb fashion, connecting the comb from one frame to a second frame.....more trouble.

I cut out the bad comb and rubber banded it back into a frame that I gave back to the swarm hive.  I took the half frame of comb (which held lots of eggs and very young brood) and gave it plus one more frame to Blue Heron (drove back over there and installed these frames).

We cancelled the inspection for this Saturday.  We made such disturbance of Julia's hive that we didn't want to disturb it again on Saturday.  In my hive, the bees need peace and quiet to develop a new queen.  I'm driving to Rabun County on Sunday and if Don has a queen, I'll stop and buy one from him.



1 comment:

  1. What a great & helpful post.
    As a first year beekeeper, finding the farm hive overflowing with bees, 9 frames chock full of nectar, pollen & honey was really cool until it dawned on me that there was neither eggs, larvae nor capped brood. I have not laid eyes on the queen either, she's marked so that shouldn't be hard. There were two feeble looking superscedure cells, empty too. Guess their kingdom has no queen.
    Your post has imparted insight and I'll be adding a super to give them space and ordering a new queen.

    Thank you.
    thoughts, anyone?

    ReplyDelete

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