Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mid-Week Dash!

I dashed home yesterday to go through my home hives and Diane's hive.

The established hive did not create Queen Cells from the two frames of eggs and brood I put in at the weekend, which is annoying!  So I'm on the look out for a Queen now! But the nectar is pouring in! I added a super!

The new nuc seems OK. There was no brood in the top box, but that's OK too! I'll check again in a week! (June 5) I moved two supers from the established hive to this one! Might need an excluder!

Diane's hive looks good as well, I only added a super but did not go through the frames. I'll go this again in a week or so. (June 5).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Holiday Inspections

It's a holiday weekend and so an ideal opportunity to get into the beeyard.  Of course it's raining as I write this so I'm pleased I finished what I needed to do this morning!

It was a mixed bag; good things and bad things happening but overall progress has been positive!  I started at the Gardens yesterday and finished in Ladue today. I think I have worked out an efficient system for inspecting my yards, at long last!

Mobot Hives:
Established Hive: this continues to go well. There's a good laying pattern and no Queen Cells in the hive. I also saw the Queen which is always nice. This hive looks in good shape! There was some brood in the supers, but not much! I'll need to keep an eye on that! 

Queen Bee at the Botanical Gardens.
Swarm Hive: I found quite a lot of eggs and brood in the supers which is a nuisance! However, the good news is that this at least means there is a Queen present!  And a good one judging from the laying pattern and quantity of new brood! 

In order to address this I moved the supers containing the brood to the top of the stack. the hope is that these clear and get filled with nectar and not refilled with brood. But its good to be prepared so I may need to put an excluder on; maybe on Monday.

New brood in a super!
Next inspection May 31.

Home Hives:

Home Hives.
Nuc: Did not take! Disappointing but no great loss!

Single Deep: This is looking good! Theres plenty of new brood and I saw a new Queen. I thought I took a photo of her but I missed!  Still, you can see the good young brood and larvae. I added a second deep and I hope to build this up over the testing the spring.

Larvae in the Single Deep.
I thought I had a photo of the Queen!

Main Home Hive:  This is Queenless and that's very disappointing. But as there is no Queen the supers continue to fill. So that is one good thing!  Interestingly there were a lot if empty supersedure cells in the hive on at least 2 frames.  I suppose this could mean the hive may have swarmed but I'm not convinced. I need to research this further. 

Empty Supersedure Cells
So what action did I take?  I took two frames of eggs/larvae/brood from Diane's hive and slotted them in the top deep. I'll look in the hive in a week to see if Queen Cells are being prepared. If not I may have to buy a Queen. I may also have to move a couple of the full supers to the new adjacent hive as the stack is becoming to heavy and high to manage!

Next inspection June 1.

Diane's Hive: 
Another hive doing well!  There's a lot of brood and I saw the Queen (she's marked so one from last season). As I mentioned above I took 2 frames of eggs/larvae/brood from the hive and slotted them into the main hive at home. There's some space in the supers still but I'll need to check these in a week or so!

Next inspection June 1.

Ladue Hive:
I should have expected this; by now it was getting overcast and it started to look like rain.  Yes, these girls weren't too happy to be disturbed and got a bit nasty; I got stung 4 times on my right wrist and arm!

So they're strong! And I found brood in the hive! This was Queenless a few weeks ago so I'm happy they should now be OK. There's lots of nectar in the hive too. I hope with a Queen now in residence they will move this up into the supers to make some room for brood. One old super is full and the shallows are filling.

I cleared the yard with my brush cutter to make it easier to move around, and I now need to think about starting some new hives.  Nucs would be good! I also need to "de-propolise" the hive! It's so sticky and hard to work.

Next inspection June 2.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Further Spring Inspections

Writing up my inspections on my blog is fast becoming my go-to method of record keeping as well as planning.  I felt I dropped the ball a bit coming into the spring; I was disorganized and not fully prepared for what I needed to do with my bees. But since I started recording stuff here and using the calendar on my phone more, I've found I've been better able to plan my time and I'm also sure I service the hives I have dotted about the city much more effectively.  I guess the lesson is "record data in the way that best suits you"!

So what happened this weekend?  On Saturday I dashed about the...

Home Hive: 
I went through just the supers to see if any more were needed.  In the event I added a fourth, as of the 3 there two were almost full and the third partially full. I did not look for the Queen on this occasion as I want to wait a little longer to make sure if there is one she is settled in the hive.  I'm planning on doing that on 25 May (next weekend).

Home Hive with Supers
Diane's Hive: 
Now this hive has been in good shape this spring.  I went through the entire hive and found nothing untoward, apart from some larvae/eggs in the first super!  I looked in the super for the queen and as I didn't see her I bottom-supered with a third shallow. Hopefully this will discourage her from going up into the supers again. This will leave the brood in the supers to hatch and allow more nectar/honey to be stored.

The other two supers on the hive are filling well; there are lots of eggs and brood and larvae throughout the deeps - but no queen cells!. I'll check in on this hive soon - May 25.

Diane's Hive
Ladue Hive: 
This is not firing on all cylinders - not yet!  There should be a maturing Queen in the hive so I didn't want to disturb things too much; I just went through the supers.  These are not filling that quickly, but I nevertheless put an extra super on (up to 3 now).  I also took a quick look in the top deep and I found lots of nectar here and some mature brood as well, but not much.  I hope this doesn't mean the hive is Queenless! But it is early days still and I will go back to look this weekend to see if I can find brood and eggs (May 24) i.e. if there appears to be a resident Queen. If there isn't one in the hive I will consider either purchasing a new Queen or bringing the nuc I prepared from the Queen Cells in this hive (which are at home) back to Ladue!

On Sunday my focus was at the Botanical Garden...

Established Hive:
The established hive here looks in good shape - it's very vital!  Everything looks good!  No Queen Cells, plenty of brood, larvae, eggs, nectar, pollen and honey in the hive. I added a single shallow as the two there are partially full.  The top deep appeared further developed than the bottom deep so I reversed these as well.  I'll be back to look inside the hive in a week's time! (May 24).

Swarm Hive:
As with the hive in my yard I only went though the supers on this hive.  Both were both pretty much full so I bottom-supered two more!  I will check to see if the Queen Cell I moved from home a couple of weeks ago has taken (may 24). If not I think I may have to obtain a new Queen!
Piles of Supers at the Gardens!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Next round of inspections

Over the weekend I looked at the two hives that are in good shape. The hive down the street and one of the hives at the Gardens.

Both show no signs of having any queen cells and both look well set up for the main nectar flow which I hope starts this week. I have 2 supers on the hive down the street and 3 on the Garden hive.  So fingers crossed. 

My next round of inspections will be in the hives and nucs that contain the queen cells, but that is still a week off so I may recheck these good hives next weekend.

Here are a couple of views of the Garden hives.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Well what do I do next time? 'Cos the business end of the season is starting to roar

Home hive:
Well, I went through this hive again last night with the intent to perform an Artificial Swarm.  I would have done it too, but there was NO QUEEN!  So I removed all but two developed, and capped, Queen Cells. With luck the first out of the gate will terminate the other and there'll be no secondary swarming. The good news is that with no Queen in the hive the girls are busy bringing in nectar!  Well, what else is there for them to do!

I'll check on the hive's progress in a couple of weeks (May 25).  After all, I want the new Queen to settle in.  If the cell is currently capped it must be within 6 days of hatching.  Add a week for her to get mated and return home and a few more days to start laying and we'll be good.  So all I have to do in the meamtime is keep "supering"!

Diane Hive:
There was nothing untoward going on in this hive, so I think all I need to do is check in the hive for any swarm cells (May 11) and add supers should the two there now be filling nicely!

Ladue Hives:
This had swarm cells in it so I think I need to check the hive again but not too soon (May 24) just to see how the hive is doing.  It would also be worth lifting the supers to see their progress. And of course i need to rummage through the garage and check on the equipment that's stored there!

Mating box:
This is no longer occupied!

New Nuc Box
This was made up from bees in Ladue and contained some frames woth Queen Cells.  I reckon I need to check on this again in a couple of weeks (May 25) in order to give the Queen enough time to hatch, get mated, return and start laying.

Observation Hive / New Home Hive!
The New Home Hive was made from the old observation hive "nuc" I prepared from the Home hive!  Confused? Anyway, I went through the observation hive / "nuc" last night only to find a new Queen Cell in it and no existing Queen!  I think the cold weather at the earth day event did her in!  A shame!  So I decided to put all 5 frames in the nuc back into a full deep but this time I'll make sure the Queen stays in her hive and I'll wait to do another check until she should be laying (May 25), or even later.

Garden Swarm Hive #2:
OK, this hive now contains Queen Cells I took from home (from the mating box). As with so many of my hives I'll wait long enough for any queens to hatch, get mated and start laying (around May 24).  It will be worth lifting the supers as well, especially as the bees in the hive have nothing else to do and there was some honey already being stashed away!

And I'll certainly rummage in this garage again for equipment, but I doubt if I'll get quite as lucky as I did on Monday!

Garden Hive #1:
Nothing untoward was happening here but I'll check for Queen Cells soon (May 10) and maybe add some more supers if the ones that are currently in place are filling quickly.

Checking to see if the swarm hive took! It didn't!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An Extended Day Beekeeping!

The weather was so bad this weekend that I didn't manage to get any beekeeping in, yet again.  Instead I took Monday off (May 6) and went round my hives.  This activity actually started on Sunday as I needed to plan what I was going to do at each hive location so that I wasn't unnecessarily running about.  Broadly my planning worked! Broadly, but not quite...

So what follows are my plans and notes of what actually happened - a few surprises came my way!

Equipment needs:
Tool box - 2 empty drawn frames + mating box frames.
Spare deep - no frames.
Supers with cut comb x 2.
Supers x 10.
2 nuc boxes for possible splits.

Should have taken my back support!

Home hive:
Check for queen cells and/or queen.
Perform artificial swarm if cells present! or simply reverse if not.
Need excluder and deep of drawn comb for AS.
Add 1x super with cut comb.

Didn't see the queen, but saw Swarm cells were present on two frames. Relocated one frame to mating box (centre compartment) left one in the hive but removed 2 of the 3 cells on it. If the queen in the hive doesn't take maybe the one in the mating box will.
I think it may be likely this hive will swarm!
Bottom supered with frames for cut comb. Three supers currently in place.

Diane Hive:
Check for queen cells. Remove any queen cells to tool box then to mating box in yard.
Add supers x 2 (max).

Didn't see the queen, no sign of supersedure cells or swarm cells. Didn't reverse. 
Bottom supered a single super. Two currently in place.

Ladue Hives:
Check two hives for queen cells. Remove to tool box/nuc box if present.
Perform reversals.
Add supers x 4.

Down to one hive, but combined the hives.
Swarm cells removed from the one surviving hive (removed a total of 4 frames) to make up a nuc at home.
Added 2 supers.

Mating box:
Check queen cells.
If not hatched relocate to nuc box/tool box, take to Gdns for swarm hive, otherwise leave.

Swarm cell present in western compartment. Decided to leave it in place!
These cells (and those in the centre compartment from the home hive) were subsequently all relocated to the "swarm hive" at the gardens.

Garden Swarm Hive #2:
Check for queen. If present OK. If not use frame from mating box.
Reorganize and reduce to 2 deeps.
Add supers x 2.

No queen! Swarm was either Queenless or they killed her! 
Reduced bees into 2 deeps added 2 supers (3 total now). Put in queen cells from the mating box. A couple were damaged in transit (at the bottom of frames) but hopefully either the healthy capped cell or the viable uncapped cells will develop. Check back in a couple of weeks!
Should have taken my swarm cells to the gardens as planned. The "swarm hive" was queenless and needed these cells and I had to drive home to collect them!

Garden Hive #1:
Check for queen cells. If present relocate to swarm hive or nuc box.
Add supers x 2 - check garage!
Add one super with cut comb.

All ok! Added two supers. Total of two in place.

A montage from the Botanical Gardens of some lovely brood,
pollen and a very prominent Queen Cell.

Another montage from the Botanical Gardens,
including the delivery of the Queen Cell!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Queen...

Well the hive in my back yard has got some capped Queen Cells in it! But the existing Queen is still there. So I removed the Queen Cells and put them in my mating box! I'm not sure if the hive will swarm - probably it will - unless I can perform an "artificial swarm" on it. However, given the weather forecast I think this is unlikely before Sunday. And by then it might be too late!

Still, I hope I'll have another Queen to raise which I can use to split another hive! I'll check in the mating box in a week or so to see what's happened!