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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. 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.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

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.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. ‪(404) 482-1848‬

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Adding Boxes to the Hives

I'm leaving for a week and it's the peak of the tulip poplar flow in Atlanta, so I posted on Beemaster to find out if I could leave empty supers on the hives even if the boxes below were not built out enough. The answer was to leave each hive with room to store honey in an extra box.

I checked the hives as I added boxes. In the small office parking lot swarm, the queen is laying. Here is her new brood. I was thrilled since I wasn't totally sure I had a good queen in this hive.

In one of the yard hives (I HAVE to name these hives - otherwise I'll have to resort to 1, 2, 3, etc. and that's no fun) the bees were building comb on top of the frames. I scraped off the burr comb and added a box. I turned to put the top back on the hive and there was Her Majesty, wandering around on the top! Horrors! I put her back as quickly as I could.

I added an 8 frame medium to this 10 frame hive and put a painted 2X4 to cover the exposed frames in the bottom box.

When I left town each hive had a yellow newly painted box on top. I didn't check the hive where the queen was released because I didn't want to disturb her.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

The Queen in a Nuc Gets Busy Fast

The other day I was looking at the fantastic picture on my beekeeping friend in Turkey, Halil Bilen's blog. He takes lovely pictures and although I can't read his blog, I learn a lot from looking at the pictures.

The picture below is his picture from his blog in April. I noticed that this was a comb hanging down from the top of something and that there are eggs in the comb. Now these eggs look like possibly laying worker eggs because there are two eggs in several cells. Nonetheless, the eggs in the cell in the comb hanging from the top reminded me of what I saw in two of the nucs I recently purchased.

(Thanks for the use of the picture, Halil Bilen!)

In the nucs I bought, there were four frames and a spacer in the five frame nuc. The spacer was simply a board the width of a frame with nothing under it. While hanging out in the nuc, the bees took the opportunity to build comb.

When I removed the spacer before shaking the bees into their new hive home, I slid my hive tool under the comb and disconnected it from its spacer roof. I carried it into my house planning to melt it down in the solar wax melter.

After seeing Halil Bilen's picture, I found the comb I had cut off and examined it closely. In most of the cells the queen had laid an egg! The workers took advantage of the space to build beautiful comb of their own and the queen had obliged by laying in it. I hadn't even seen the eggs when I removed the comb!

If you want to see the eggs, double click on the picture below to enlarge it, and they should be fairly easy to see, even without holding the comb up so the sun is behind you as one would do in the beeyard. I can use these combs to show the Girl Scouts what they are looking for in the hive when they look for eggs.
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Haagen Dazs has a new bee commercial

Haagen Dazs has put together a touching and quite lovely commercial effort in their positive bee approach that I wrote about earlier. You can watch the commercial HERE.:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Queen, The Queen, Long Live the Queen

Today I went to PN Williams' apiary to get a queen for the queenless nuc I had purchased from him. He had told me the queen was in a "queen motel" and would have no attendants and would need to be installed in the hive as quickly as possible. I was free, luckily, this afternoon from 2 - 5, so I could drive the 30 minutes to his house, pick her up, drive 30 minutes to my house and install her before going back to work in a few minutes.

It turned out that the "queen motel" referred to a shoe box sized ventilated box containing a number of queens in cages but not with attendants as they would be in a package. He gave me the queen cage with a candy plug (already opened) and I headed for home. I hung the cage on a frame with a wax foundation so that I could use a twist tie to support it.

I put the frame back into the hive and the bees were all over it. They have been desperate for a queen for 10 days now. When I closed up the hive, I couldn't see the queen cage because it was covered with bees.

Within five minutes of closing up the hive, a worker bee dragged this pupae out the front entrance and dropped her on the ground. I had supplied this hive with a frame of brood and eggs to help them make their own queen. The shape of this pupae caught my eye and I took its picture. I wonder if this were a queen in the making, but the minute the real thing arrived, they cast their creation out.

Below you can see her a little closer up - I'm having a hard time with the macro focus on my camera, but this at least lets you see her back.

While with the bees I added sugar syrup to several feeders on the nuc hives and opened one of the swarm hives that I hadn't checked since I installed it. There is definitely a laying queen there - I saw eggs. They've built out the lower box and I added a new brood box.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Much Activity in the Hives

Today the man who supplied my nucs called to say that my queen may arrive tomorrow afternoon. If she does, I'll need to pick her up and essentially take her straight to my hives and establish her presence there. He said she would be in a container with no attendants.

So on the way to work tomorrow, I will be stopping at the hardware store to purchase #8 hardware cloth to make a push-in queen cage. I've been to two lectures on how to do this - one at Young Harris last year and one at my bee club this year - but I've never done this myself.

Actually I've never introduced a queen. I've ordered nucs that already had a queen in them and I've given hives frames of eggs to make their own queen, but I've never ordered and then introduced the queen to the hive. So this will be yet another first in my life as a beekeeper.

In addition my hives are going really well right now. I checked Bermuda this morning and they are slow to work on the top box. I am thinking that they probably swarmed when I wasn't home. They are acting like a hive rebuilding rather than a hive that is moving into honey production. Mellona is doing great and today I added a honey super.

The small swarm from the Dunwoody yard has not been opened because I suspected that it has a virgin queen who had to be mated and return to the hive. I opened the top of that hive today to see how it's going in there and they seemed angry. I am wondering if they are in fact queenless. I did give them a frame of brood and eggs a week after they arrived, but I'm not sure they have made a queen. They had built out all of the frames in the boxes they had so I added a third box.

Tonight I built frames and waxed in starter strips of foundation. I expect that before the weekend at least two more hives will need more growing space and probably Bermuda will need a honey super (cross your fingers).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Working with the Girl Scouts

On Monday it was really hot in Atlanta - my car said 81 degrees when I got into it at 6:30 PM to go to talk to a group of Girl Scouts. This troop was presenting a "Try-It" to their service unit. The idea was to introduce Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts to the idea of beekeeping and to teach them some about the purpose of bees in the world.

I had to work all day and planned to leave straight from my office to get to the meeting to talk to the girls at 7:15. So I took all of my "props" with me - frames of honeycomb, wax comb with eggs in it, homemade hand cream and lip balm, photos, my bee hat and veil. I opened the back of my car at 6:30 to find that my car had been like a solar wax melter, melting the honeycomb off of the frame. Thank goodness it fell onto a ziploc baggie containing other stuff and didn't ruin my photographs!

I brought honey for the girls to taste. I spoke to a large group of Junior Scouts. These girls are Brownie Scouts. They were a little cautious about trying the honey until they actually tasted it. Yum!

You can see on the table some of the items the girls worked on - they had drawings of a bee to teach the girls the anatomy of the bee, they did some geography (had a contest to see who could figure out the most states with the bee as their state insect!), and they played some games with the girls. I certainly enjoyed my part.

I am mentoring this Girl Scout troop as they begin their own beekeeping. They ordered a nuc of bees which arrived this past weekend. On Sunday I will meet with them to help them do their first hive inspection. If the way they conducted this "Try It" is an indicator of the job they will do with their bees, they will be quite successful at the task!
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nuc Hive without a Queen

Yesterday I went into my hives with the video camera, planning to make a video on how to do a hive inspection. The reason there's no video with this post is that I didn't get a good film. I opened four hives and in each instance, there was an auditory issue - in three of the four hives, an airplane flew overhead as I began the inspection! In the fourth hive, my dogs started barking loudly, making it difficult to hear.

The next problem is that I did the inspection at noon while the sun was overhead and thus the lighting was terrible. As a result you can't see anything on the frames that I pulled out. I also positioned the camera so that it focused on the hive. So when I pulled a frame and held it up to look at it, the frame was out of sight of the camera.

I may post one of these films to keep my promise to make one this weekend, but I definitely will be doing it again and differently.

The most upsetting thing I found in inspecting these hives was that one of my nuc hives appears to have no queen. These three nucs were installed last Friday, one week ago. Two of the hives have very active queens - I've seen Her Majesty in each of those hives and can see eggs and new brood in those hives.

In the nuc hive on my deck, there is absolutely no new brood after a week. I searched through the hive again today and still didn't see the queen on any frame and there were no eggs, brood or young larvae.I called the man from whom I purchased the nuc and he said he would get a queen for me and call me when she arrived so I could come and pick her up.

Meanwhile I have a queenless hive full of bees and eager to draw out comb, etc. They have polished the cells where new workers are hatching and are waiting, but there's no queen to lay eggs in them.While I am waiting for the new queen to arrive, I borrowed a frame of eggs, brood, etc. from Mellona to add to this hive.

If you double click on the frame above, you can see eggs in the 12:00 position in each cell. These are newly laid and will give the hive a chance to make its own queen. There is some capped worker brood in this frame on the side you can see as well as lots of pollen both in picture one (side A) and in the picture below (side B)

You can see how many bees are in Mellona in the picture below. You can see where I took the frame of brood and eggs. In its place I put a starter strip frame on the side of the box and pushed the frames closer together to make up for the space from my removal of the frame.

When I took the frame out, I shook it hard to send any bees remaining on it back into their home hive, Mellona. The remaining bees clinging to the frame I was moving were nurse bees. I checked each bee carefully to make sure I wasn't moving the queen out of her hive and then placed the frame into the nuc hive.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

What's Involved in a Hive Inspection

This weekend if the weather cooperates I'll make a video of an inspection - I'm no master of inspections, but I'll show you what I do when I do one. Meanwhile, there is a slideshow that I made last year when I went on a hive inspection of the beehives at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Here's the link.

I spend a lot of time observing my hives from the outside. I watch them when I am at home for meal times and sometimes I just sit on my sunporch and watch their comings and goings.

However, this post is about inspecting the inside of the hive.

It's important to know why you are inspecting the hive. There could be many reasons.
  • As a beginning beekeeper, inspecting the hive is the only way to know what goes on in there in the dark since the bees don't have windows!
    • You can learn to tell the difference between the drones and the workers
    • You may see the queen
    • You can observe the difference in capped brood, capped drone brood, and capped honey
    • You can observe what a queen cell looks like (even a hive that has a good queen and/or isn't going to swarm usually makes a queen cell or two for insurance)
    • You may see where the queen is laying by looking for larvae and eggs (hard to see)
    • You may see an emerging bee in the capped worker brood
  • It's also important to look for signs of problems in the hive
    • Is the queen's laying pattern a good one? That means that the capped brood is in more or less a football shape in the center of the frame. The brood is pretty solidly capped - not many skipped cells or empty cells
    • Do the workers show signs of illness? Deformed wing virus is easy to see - the wings of the workers are shriveled or malformed. You might even see a varroa mite on the back of a bee - it looks like a red tick (as in on a dog)
    • Do you have small hive beetles? If so, you might want to invest in a trap - vinegar or oil. And I smash as many as I can with my hive tool.
    • Do you have a wax moth problem? This usually only occurs if the hive is very weak. The wax moth is always present, but a strong hive keeps the wax moth from growing there. A weak hive doesn't have the resources and the hive can be overrun with wax moths.
    • Does the hive smell funny? Wax moths and SHB make a sicky sweet rotting kind of smell - otherwise the hive will simply smell of delicious honey
  • Do you need to do something to help the hive prosper?

    • Does the hive need a new hive box added? The general rule of thumb is if the hive has built out and used 80% of the top box, it's time to add a new box (that means 8 out of 10 frames in a 10 frame box).
    • If there's lots of burr comb on the tops of the frames, you may want to scrape that off. You'll see Gerard do that in the Botanical Garden hive inspection. It's not necessary, but you may want to make the hive easier for you to manipulate
    • Is the hive honey-bound? This means that above the brood box in the next brood box, instead of brood, you have a solid box of honey. Usually, at least here in the south, the bees have brood in two boxes. If the brood is stopped by a wall of stored honey, the queen usually won't pass by the honey to lay in the box above that, so you'll want to move the honey filled super and put a new brood box below it.

  • What does the hive sound like?

    • When I first open the hive and pop the top cover, I listen for the bees. If I am quiet and gentle in my movements and the hive is doing well, usually there is a humming buzz, but nothing more.
    • If there is a problem before I do anything, the hive buzzes with a roar. Sometimes the roar means there is no queen, so I want to pay attention to that
    • When I do something intrusive like a powdered sugar shake, the bees roar and grumble - I would too - who wants to have a powdered sugar shower on a perfectly lovely day for foraging?
Those are the purposes and thoughts I have for inspecting. Here are some other aspects of the hive inspection that I try to follow:
  1. I use as little smoke as possible. I always light the smoker in case I feel a need to discourage the bees from bothering me, but mostly I light the smoker and set it aside while I work. I do puff one puff of smoke at the front door of the hive when I begin the inspection - it's like knocking on the door to announce my presence. Then mostly I forget about it.
  2. Always approach the hive from the side or the back. It is disturbing to the bees to walk straight up to the front of the hive - the guard bees will greet you and you will get started on the wrong foot with the bees.
  3. Move slowly and gently. You will kill a few bees, but remember that there are up to 60,000 bees in an active hive and it's impossible to do an inspection without killing a few.
  4. Be careful in lifting the frames out of the box. I usually take out frame #2 or #3 and hang it on a frame rack while I move the other frames in the box. I don't want to risk losing the queen so for the most part I hold the frame over the box to look at it (then if she's on the frame and falls, she falls into the hive.)
  5. Don't assume that you can just grab the frame and lift it up. Most of the time the frames are propolized to the side of the box and need you to break the grip with your hive tool before lifting the frame.
  6. You only need to go through enough boxes on the hive to satisfy your reason for inspecting. For example, if you are looking to see if the queen has a good laying pattern, as soon as you find a frame that represents the good laying pattern, you can stop your inspection. You don't need to look at every frame or in every box on the hive.
  7. Always put the frames back in the box in the same orientation in which they were when you lifted them out. Unless you have a reason to manipulate the frames, put the frame back exactly where you found it. It's the bees' home and they have it arranged just the way they want it.
  8. When you replace the boxes back on top of one another, slide them onto the box below so that the bees can be gently pushed out of the way rather than squashed
Everyone has their own tragic stories - I've dropped frames, dropped the inner cover on top of the bees below, squashed bees, killed bees with my hive tool, killed a bee when I was trying to smash a small hive beetle, brushed bees badly, etc.

You'll have yours too - it's just part of bee-ing a beekeeper.

OK, those are all of my thoughts for the moment. I'm sure I'll think of more about inspecting, but I'll save it for the video if I do it this weekend.

Useful link: Mother Earth

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Apiary 2008

This year I am starting the season with seven hives. Here are four of the deck hives - left to right:
  • Bermuda - starting her third season with a queen they replaced in the fall
  • Mellona - starting her second season - I haven't seen the queen yet this year
  • Small Swarm collected on 4/8 in Chamblee - may or may not have a viable queen in two medium hive bodies and isn't named yet
  • Swarm collected on 4/1 from an office parking lot shrub in Sandy Springs in my former swarm lure hive - also without a name

In front of Bermuda is my first as yet unnamed nuc hive, hived on 4/11

In my yard in a flower bed is nuc hive #2 also unnamed as yet, hived on 4/11

Also in my yard under another tree is nuc hive #3 unnamed, hived on 4/11

So I need five hive names - Greek/Roman mythology, here I come!

My yard guys are going to quit. I've let them ignore the deck because they are uncomfortable with the bees. I've been thinking I'd hang a veil for them to use on the fence so that my backyard gets cut this summer. We'll see.

A couple of years ago, I went to an Appalachian festival in Frostburg, MD where my daughter, Becky, lives. A woman there had goats that she named alphabetically according to year. The year we met her goats, they all had names that began with M: Muriel, Mabel, Maryanne.

I love this yellow paint that my friend Tracy gave me. I think for the year 2008, every box I paint will be yellow and every top, SBB or bottom board will be painted blue.
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Dilemma of the Possibly Queenless Swarm

When you get a small swarm, it sometimes is an after swarm. When a hive swarms, about half the hive leaves and the queen goes with the swarm. They leave behind enough bees to keep the hive going and either a virgin queen or a queen about to emerge. Sometimes in a large hive, there are several after swarms, each containing a virgin queen.

When I got the small swarm on Tuesday the 8th, the bees in the box put their rear ends up in the air to signal the rest of the bees that the queen momma was in the box. However, she may not have made the box journey well or she may have been injured in the transfer from cardboard box to hive body.

I opened the small swarm on Friday and there was no sign of laying. The workers were drawing out comb, but syrup was being stored and no eggs were anywhere. This could mean the queen is a virgin queen and won't be laying for a while since she will have to make her mating flight and return safely to the hive.

One way to deal with this is to put a frame of brood and eggs from another hive into this hive. If they need a queen, they can then make one from the eggs. If there is a queen, they won't need to use the eggs to make a queen and the brood that emerges from the borrowed frame will simply enhance the hive.

I wanted to do this and took a frame from Bermuda to add to the small hive. The frame from Bermuda had eggs, young brood, capped brood and three queen cells on it. Two of the queen cells were opened at the bottom, indicating that the queen had emerged. The third cell in the center of the picture was whole.

I chose this frame because of the queen cell, but I don't know if it were a good idea or not. My thought was that if the hive were queenless, they would gain time on getting a new queen because this one would emerge soon. However if there is a queen in the hive, I guess I wasted a perfectly good queen cell. Anyway, I don't know what the answer was to this problem. If I had it to do again, I'd probably only add a frame with brood and eggs.
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How to Install a Nuc

In addition to my two hives from last year and the two swarms I have kept of the three that I captured, I had for insurance ordered three nucs for the season. They arrived yesterday and I drove down to Forest Park, Ga to pick them up last night. The nuc comes with a screened front door in a five frame box. You pick the nuc up in the evening so that the bees will be at home. I drove them home, set them in the spots where they will be hived, opened the screened door and that was that for the evening.

The weather this weekend includes rain and cold - actually the rain was supposed to start today, but we were lucky and had sunny weather instead (the better to install nucs with, my dear). I took my prepared box down to the site where the nuc was to be installed. This is a 10-frame deep and the nuc includes four frames so you can see that the box has four frames out of it to accommodate the frames from the nuc.
Here's the nuc still with the top bungee-corded to it, awaiting my transfer to the hive box. When you make the frame transfer, it's essential to put the frames in the same order in which they were in the nuc box. A nuc is made up of four frames from different hives, usually, so as you can see here, the frames were three of wood and one plastic. I set them into the box and then sharply tapped the nuc box over the hive so that the remaining bees would join their sisters.

All the bees never leave the original equipment when you're doing these maneuvers, so you always have to leave the nuc box and any other bee-clinging equipment sitting in front of the hive until all the bees are moved into the hive (that will probably be tomorrow morning.) After the bees calmed down, I put a feeder on each new box.

Thanks to my friend Tracy for the glorious blue and yellow paint. He's building a house and was kind enough to give me quarts of paints that didn't make the cut. I love my blue and yellow hives!

So in case you haven't been counting, I now have seven (7!!!!!) hives. Bermuda who has lived through two winters and is entering her third season, Mellona, entering her second season, two swarm hives, as yet unnamed and now these three nuc installations. I'll be working on Greek and Roman mythology tonight to try to find names for all of these.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Phase Two, Swarm Two

Well, I returned at sunset to find NO bees in the box and all of the bees clumped not on the sheet but on the ground. Obviously I had left the queen on the ground and never got her in the box. So the bees, as one would expect, joined her.

Now the neighbors on both sides of the fence were watching me through their back windows while I struggled with this problem. I turned the box on its side near the bees on the ground. I took the extra piece of cardboard and scraped the pile of bees into the box, hoping that the queen was included. She must have been because the bees began moving in a rather orderly way into the box.
Here they are up close and personal. I used the sheet, the cardboard piece, and my yellow bee brush to aid me in getting the bees in the box. It was tedious, and the sun had already set, so I had to get the job finished and take the bees away. I even went back to the car to get a magazine to give me yet another something to slide ground bees onto. By 8:45 PM all the bees were in the box. I closed it and taped it closed with duct tape.

Before I went back to pick up this swarm, I really studied my bees on my deck. I don't have room for this swarm. I had fun getting it (except for the getting stung part), but I do not need this hive.

I looked at the bee club member list and found the number for my friend Nicky. When I first got my bees she was kind enough to come over and help me to do my first inspection. I have always wanted to do something for her to say thank you.....so I called Nicky. She said that she had had five hives but had lost four of them over the winter. She would be thrilled to have these bees. So as the day ended I delivered these boxed up bees to Nicky's house where she will install them in a hive box. I hope they thrive and that she has fun with them.
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Hiving the First Swarm and Phase One of Swarm Two

As with the first swarm I captured, I put this swarm in a medium hive body filled with frames, including one frame of capped honey and several drawn out frames from last year as well as frames with remnants of comb. I set an empty medium over the medium with the frames to keep the bees from spilling out all over the deck as I poured them into the box. I dumped the bees in and left the box upside down on the hive for a moment.

Then they were all in the hive. I put on the inner cover and the telescoping top. I'll take the empty medium off tomorrow. I put a Boardman feeder on the front of the hive and left to go for the second swarm.
The second swarm was not easy AT ALL. As you can see the swarm is on the side of a dogwood tree, pressed up against a hurricane fence. In fact there were bees in the cluster on both sides of the fence. There was nothing to shake and no room for scraping the bees into the cardboard box I brought.

I set the box under the swarm. Then on second thought I put a sheet under the box. I wish I had put another sheet on the other side of the fence, but I didn't. I didn't take any more pictures because I was alone and this swarm was not happy with my intrusion. I got stung at least twice by two bees who got inside my helmet and veil (which was zipped to my suit???) The bees head-butted me and dive bombed me throughout this process.

They were already building comb on the leaf you can see peeking out of the swarm. Every time I thought I had the bees in the box, I'd find that many of them had returned to the tree. I decided that I had not gotten the queen. I began to work on the bees on the sheet and on the ground on the opposite side of the fence. After an hour of fruitless work, I imagined I saw bees with the nasonov signal, so I closed the box except for one opening and left to return at sunset to pick up the bees - which I thought would be comfortably ensconced in the box. (See next post)
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Two Swarms in One Day

Last night on my email for this blog, a man who lives near my house wrote me that he had a small swarm in a bush at his house. I decided to go and get it in spite of the fact that Cindy Bee had also called me to get another swarm this morning - talk about biting off more than one can chew! Here are pictures of Mike's swarm which was located in this beautiful shrub at the front corner of his yard.
The bees were not in a position either for me to cut the branch on which they
gathered nor were they on a branch that could be shaken. I put the sheet under the box and used my yellow bee brush to push the bees down into the box, hoping that the queen would be in the first brush's worth of bees.

Sure enough, the bees quickly moved into the box to join the queen and began the nasonov signal to any left out bees. I had the whole swarm in the box within about 25 minutes. I finished just as the garbage truck drove by, pausing to collect the trash without giving me in my space outfit a second glance!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

The State of Bee-ing of the Swarm Hive

The swarm hive has cleaned house and now occupies one half of the box they are in. They had a raunchy collection of frames to work with so today I substituted some drawn comb on deep frames from my absconded Proteus hive from last year. I put those frames in the unoccupied section of the hive. The swarm bees were starting to draw wax and have been quite busy.
Bees with pollen laden legs are landing at the swarm hive every few seconds. Seeing this, I felt optimistic, because although this doesn't necessarily mean there's a laying queen and brood who need pollen, it can mean that. At the very least it means the bees are anticipating young if their queen is still a virgin.
I also moved the swarm bees onto the Country Rubes screened bottom board and they seemed quite pleased. I feel much better about their having a screened bottom board.

On this inspection, I didn't look closely at the bees and didn't look for the queen or eggs - I just wanted to see if the bees needed different frames and to see if they were doing bee work in the hive (building wax, making the place their own, etc.).

I also took another unused deep and set up another swarm lure hive. The new swarm hive took over my old swarm lure set-up, so now I have a new one. I put the solid bottom board and the landing stand from the new swarm hive and set them up as the base of this lure hive.

I also did an inspection on Bermuda and Mellona. Both had eggs, young brood, and lots of bees. Bermuda , the oldest of my hives, is burgeoning with bees. But both hives looked really good. Bermuda has four medium boxes on it and brood in every box. Mellona is building up more slowly, but building up all the same. Mellona has bees and brood in three boxes.

I do what's known as unlimited brood nest because I don't use a queen excluder and let the queen lay wherever she wishes.

On an interesting side note - I did not see one single SHB. When I first opened the hives this spring, I saw lots of them. I don't have any traps in the hives at the moment, but there is not a small hive beetle to be seen. I think this is an argument for a strong hive - great bees in charge, no evident hive beetles until at least later in the season.

So much activity in my bee yard!
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