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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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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Moving Bees from Sebastian's House

Sebastian has a new (5 wk. old) baby boy and he and his wife have decided that they would like to send the bees back to us.  So on Monday night after dark, Jeff and I moved the bees to my backyard.

The hive seemed small, light and the bees seemed particularly uninterested in our efforts to move the boxes.  We strapped up the hive with no incident.  We stapled (Jeff did) a screen wire cover for the entry.

We had fed these bees bee tea (one feeder full - about 2 quarts) going into winter and had thought they might not make it because they had almost no stores before we fed them.  So when the hive seemed light, it was what we expected.  We were thrilled that they had survived despite the winter and low stores.


There were bees still in the empty rapid feeder cone when we removed it, so we covered it with a pillow case hive drape and set it in the smoker bucket for the trip to my house.







We set these bees up on Monday night.  Then on both Tuesday and Wednesday it was unseasonably cold in Atlanta.  I did see a moment of activity on a warmish part of one of those days, but not much.  I was thinking it was a small hive, so I wasn't surprised.

Today it was in the low 60s and I had a 2 hour break in the middle of the day, so I came home to look at the bees.  OMG, there were thousands of bees orienting to this hive.  I've never seen so many - thousands more than are in my strong hive.


There was brood in this hive from the bottom to the top.  The hive was only three boxes and a feeder above the inner cover surrounded with an empty box.  Bees, bees, bees.

I looked in the bottom box and saw brood, capped and uncapped and eggs in almost every empty cell.


I always use hive drapes and I have never seen so many bees landing on the drapes on top of the boxes.





The photo above is what I saw when I opened the middle box.  What a hive!

I covered it with a hive drape and again found brood, capped and uncapped, nectar being collected and lots of eggs.  I also saw many drones - not too many but compared to what I have been seeing (one or two in each box on a hive), there were twenty in each box that I saw.

I didn't see any swarm cells (yet) but I didn't go through every frame.  These bees were just orienting and I didn't want to disturb their home completely.  But that will be my next goal with both of the hives in my yard - to make a split or two from each of these strong hives.

When I got in the third box, again it was built out from one side to the other and included brood as well as honey.  I decided to turn the feeder surround box into a hive box and checkerboarded the frames from box 3 to box 4.

What this means is that I took frames 2, 4, and 6 from box 3 and replaced them with empty foundationless frames.  I put frames 2, 4 and 6 in those same positions in box 4 and put empty foundationless frames in box 4 in positions 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8.  I didn't do 7 and 8 because there was a slight cross comb in box 3 on 7 and 8 and I didn't want to risk breaking the honey comb and tempting a robbing situation.

I turned my attention to the other hive in the yard, my Northlake swarm from last year.  They were putting up nectar but had not used up the space in the box I added recently, so I left their hive as is.




I believe I can make a split from each of these hives next weekend or the next and will not change the honey production of the hive.  I won't do an even split, but will take five frames and make a split or if I find swarm cells, I may put my new queen castle from Brushy Mountain to use.
Also a neighbor across the street came over to ask if I could help her with a bee problem.  Bees (mine and I'm sure others from the six beekeepers who live within blocks of me) were going in and out of a large potted plant by her mailbox.  I stuck my hand in and obviously it was a water source for the bees.  I turned it over and water absolutely poured out of it.  She was amazed that I didn't get stung nor did she and that there was so much water in the pot.

To encourage my bees to get water in my yard, I put a round bread pan on top of my empty nuc box and floated wine corks in it.  I had fantasies about little bees being like loggers and trying not to roll the cork as they went for water, but it was the best I could do on short notice!








1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:06 PM

    C and I are delighted to see the hive so healthy. We miss those bees! -- Sebastian

    ReplyDelete

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