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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. 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
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hives at Jeff and Valerie's House

Jeff and I have thought that Colony Square is queenless.  They have not stored much honey in a few weeks and we haven't seen brood/eggs.  However, it's a rather vigorous hive and we haven't gone into the lower boxes.  We decided this past Sunday to explore until we found evidence of a queen or lack of one.

The hive is one deep (this hive began as a Jennifer Berry nuc last year) and five medium boxes.

These hives are Jeff's responsibility, so I am just there to satisfy the question: is there a queen?  He wanted to do the work (and the lifting, thankfully!)

We went down to box four where we found brood frames that only had a few scattered capped drone cells.  There were many empty uncapped worker cells.  This means that the queen last laid eggs more than three weeks ago.  The drones, which take 24 days to emerge, would be the last capped cells left.

However, the hive was pretty calm and there was no queenless roar.  More than likely they have already taken care of the problem and made a queen who either hasn't emerged, hasn't gone on her mating flight or hasn't started laying yet.  We went all the way down to the deep box and didn't see capped brood other than drone cells.

We decided for insurance sake to add a couple of frames of brood and eggs to Colony Square to give them a way to make a queen if they are still in need.  Although they have not collected much nectar in the past few weeks, there are three boxes on the hive for us to harvest - and the disruption of the brood cycle will be good for any varroa problems.  It takes a hive 42 days to get back to full production when they make a queen.

We decided to go into Lenox Pointe to get frames of brood and eggs.  We found lots of capped honey and some beautiful wax (see below).

In taking out the frames, some comb was opened.  The bees below are trying to repair the damage as quickly as possible.

We found brood - but most of it was in honey frames so we decided to get our transfer frames from Five Alive - our most vigorous hive.

We opened Five and took two frames of brood and eggs and put them into Colony Square.  We put CS back together.

Meanwhile, Five Alive which had eight medium boxes on it, was desperate for a new box.  Jeff added the new box (the blue one) below the top box and we moved honey frames from the box below up to the new box to serve as a ladder.

The top box was completely full of capped honey.  It took all his muscles to get the box onto the top of the now nine-box Five Alive hive!  Jeff posed to show his muscles after the event!

The hive is now almost as tall as Jeff who is six feet!  We must harvest from this hive.  Our plan is to harvest on June 2 from Five Alive, weather permitting.  This is my seventh year as a beekeeper and the best year ever as far as productivity is concerned.

FWIW, this hive began as a package from Don in Lula, Georgia; survived the move from the south Georgia farm almost exactly a year ago; and survived the winter, although there was only a tiny number of bees as February arrived this year.  We actually thought it was dead (thus its name: Five Alive).

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  1. I love looking at capped frames of supers!

    No queen cells (open/closed) in CS?

    I've heard beekeepers say they thought they were queenless during really hot weather as the queen stops laying, but I doubt your queen stopped/had hot enough weather for 3 straight weeks.

    Do let us know how they react to the donated frame of brood and eggs.

  2. Hi Linda, I'm a new beekeeper and follower of your blog. I met you in January at the class at the ABG. What do you mean by "queenless roar?" I haven't heard/seen that term before. Thanks!

  3. When you open a queenless hive generally a roar goes up. The bees are unsettled as it is and I guess respond to disturbance more vigorously when they are queenless. Michael Bush says: "One way to get a clue as to whether a hive is queenless is listening to it. If you don't know what a queenless hive sounds like, try catching a queen and removing her from a hive and then wait a few minutes and listen. The hive will set up a roar. This is sometimes called a "queenless roar".

  4. I am trying to get rid of some bees at my house and ran across your website in the search. Great post Linda, I found it very interesting. That sure is a big hive. If you need any more bees, let me know because I have quite a few I am willing to part with. ;o)


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