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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I began my 13th year of beekeeping in April 2018. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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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 29, 2007

Bee Business for Today

I inspected the hives today with several items on the agenda. First I wanted to see if I should add sugar syrup to the hives. This would be determined by the presence and strength of the numbers of the small hive beetles in my hives.

Second I wanted to see if the queen were alive and laying in Mellona. The numbers of bees have diminished greatly and I've been worried that the queen may have died while I was out of town on vacation earlier in September.

First when I opened the hive, I saw SHBs but in much smaller numbers. I had added the vinegar frame trap to the hive last Saturday and there wasn't a single beetle in the trap. I took out the feeding bottle from Mellona and you can see the SHBs in the edge of the screw top. I think this indicates that they do thrive with the sugar syrup, just as they do with grease patties.

However, Mellona isn't very prepared for winter. There are empty frames, as a result of the dearth at the end of the summer, with comb but no stores in the upper box where the honey should be, so I want to feed these bees.

Bob Binnie, a Georgia beekeeper who I really respect, says to feed your bees 2 gallons of sugar syrup per hive as winter approaches. So, SHB or no SHB, I am going to put food on this hive today.

When I began looking for the queen, I found capped brood and frames with nothing in the frame - no brood, no honey, no pollen, just empty cells. I even found the comb in the second picture which looks like queen cells on the edge - kind of bizarre - each of which has a hole in the bottom.

I went down into the bottom brood box, looking for evidence of the queen. I found several frames that were empty of brood and anything else. I found a beautiful frame filled with pollen (I've been watching them bring it in). I found lots of capped brood, but no evidence of new or young brood.

I left the hive opened and went to Bermuda while I thought about what steps to take. I could call the Purvis Brothers and see if they had a queen available and drive up to get her. I could put a frame of brood and eggs from Bermuda into Mellona, but that would do no good because in neither hive did I see drones, meaning that making a queen on their own would not work since the drones aren't around for mating.

Well, I thought, I need to make completely sure so I looked at every single frame in the lower brood box of Mellona. On the last frame I looked at, I finally saw evidence of the queen. Babies and very small brood. I didn't see any eggs, but I never do when out at the hives and the brood I saw was very young. I also didn't hear the queenless roar which I now know to recognize, so I felt reassured that Her Majesty is functioning.
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  1. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Hi Linda,
    Do you think thay maybe the queen in Mellona isn't laying much because of the lack of stores necessary to raise brood?

  2. Maybe it's because of the stores. They do have stores, just not as much as I'd like them to have going into winter....but maybe feeding them will help the situation. I'll post about it next week and we'll see!


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