Friday, May 20, 2011

It's Super - quite literally!

Super is definitely the word.  My hive near (not in) the Botanical Garden is thriving.  There's lots of lovely brood and plenty of nectar coming in.  So much so that today I removed the feeders, did a reverse and I added my first super! Brilliant!

The hive I tend in the Gardens is also doing well, but it's not quite like the one down the road.  No need to super here, but I did remove the feeder and there is plenty of pollen - which given it's location isn't too surprising I suppose!  I think in a week we may well be reversing and adding a super here as well! Can't wait!

My home hives are also pushing ahead.  The "white" hive that is undergoing a Demaree swarm control procedure right now has supers that are (at a guess) about 40% full.  Today I removed about 7 queen cells from the top two hives - It's 10 days since I played with the hive. There appear to be no further eggs in the top of the hive, which is just what I want.  In the bottom, although I didn't see the queen, I saw eggs and significantly no queen cells. I think the swarm control measures are working!

My "blue" hive is bursting!  All three of the supers are practically full already! I therefore "bottom supered" with a fourth. So that's it, I'm out of supers now! I have one more medium super box, but no more frames!  I feel an order for some more coming on very soon! The queen is brilliant - but perhaps a bit too good as I found a couple of Queen Cells on a couple of frames - viable ones at that.  This is a bit gloomy as I may have to do some Demaree measures on this hive as well! For this I'll need another deep box and some frames.  I'm out of all my essentials!

I suppose beekeeping has it's good and it's not so good days.  Overall today has been very, very, good.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I slept on it... and then had second thoughts...

I inspected both my home hives on Wednesday (after dealing with Susan’s bees, for which there is a whole other story!) and was very happy with what I saw; well up to a point anyway.

My “Blue”, nice and calm, hive has practically filled a super with light coloured nectar/honey - it’s not yet capped, but could this be linden tree honey? Wow! That would be great! There is lots of nicely packed brood in the hive too and although I didn’t see the queen I’m sure from the larvae I saw she is there. There is a lot of pollen too. I allowed myself to bask in a warm glow, just for a bit! I didn’t even see any Queen Cells - very happy about that!

My “White” hive is also strong, but these bees are less calm. They fly about a lot around and in front of you as you work the hive, but as yet they don’t get aggressive and sting. They follow you for a bit as well, but are not too persistent. These bees are filling supers too and the deeps are full of brood and stores as well. So this is good. I saw larvae and the queen - also great. And I saw Queen Cells! Not so good! There were Supersedure cells; three grouped together on the bottom of a frame and a fourth still open on another. I cut them all out and thought that would be sufficient.

Later on yesterday I went to the bee club and was convinced that I need to do something more than cut out the Queen cells. So I went back this afternoon and used the Demaree method of swarm control on the bees. The reasoning is that if the bees have already capped Queen Cells, their swarm urge is strong and it is unlikely that cutting out queen cells will stop them from swarming. The Demaree method separates the queen from her brood and this simulates swarming. Hopefully the nurse bees have been fooled into thinking the hive has swarmed!

I isolated the queen in the bottom deep (under a Queen Excluder) with two frames of capped brood and some frames of foundation. On top of the excluder I put two of my supers, then two deeps that contained the remains of the brood, and finally the last of my supers. The hive stack now has an unconventional look about it and is now taller than me (but only if you include the height of the stand!). I need to wait about nine or ten days before I go back in to cut out any more queen cells in the top deeps and separate more the brood from the queen in the bottom of the hive.

At least this gives me time to ask a few more questions about what I’m doing!!!

Bee Lucky!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Progress in the City...

It's been a couple of weeks since the hives were installed in the city (and in the case of one, moved).  I spent some time checking on them yesterday.  Just a quick look inside to feed the bees and check on their development.

Both hives are doing very nicely.  Strangely I think the hive that is not in the Botanical Gardens (MOBOT) is doing ever so slighly better. This hive has more drawn comb in the top hive box, but really there's not much in it.

I fed about a gallon of 1:1 syrup to each hive.  The MOBOT hive has taken about 2 gallons in two weeks whereas the other hive has consumed just one.  I think we will see that increase soon.  Why?  Well, I have moved a couple of frames of brood up into the top hive bodies from the lower hive bodies.  I'm hoping this will stimulate some building.  I'd like to have frames in both hive bodies to be drawn out by the end of the month (if not sooner). The if the nectar flow is still on I can see if there is any chance of bulding out (and filling) of some supers!

Here are a few pics of the installations:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Drawn out foundation

My so called "weak" queen (the one that saved the beetle infested hive last year) is going great guns! These bees have tons of brood being reared and have built out about 6 of the 8 comb-honey frames in my shallow super.  I don't think the other hive has even found out they have supers on their hive yet!

So I'm very happy with this one!  The other hive is doing well too and I'm hopefull she will catch up soon!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


No sooner than they got there, they went!  What happened?

Well they moved, but not of their own accord; more due to someone else's!  It seems the presence of bees in the International Institute's farm was a bit premature and although it is a farm, my particular kind of livestock has more issues than some were prepared for! I understand a board member expressed reservations over the safety risk they posed. Funny really, as I strongly suspect that firearms in this part of town are distinctly more of a threat to the local population than my girls! Still, I suppose the threat of possible litigation is far more frightening to some than what we can find in nature.  Better stop spouting off at this point...

Anyway, the bees are now located at another address (which is tip, top, secret!!). It's about a mile or so from the farm. After the move no girls went back to the farm, which was nice!  I just hope their new home has more accepting neighbours.

We haven't given up on the farm just yet. The Farm Coordinator and some of the managers are going to be lobbying hard for their return. I wish them well, it is a good location, and there are some local residents who I think would really enjoy having them around.