Friday, October 19, 2007

Expanding the Nuc

As reported last time, we needed to add some space in the hive for the bees. My mentor brought me a fully drawn comb to replace the super frame that they were essentially ignoring. He suggested I put in between the brood frame and the stores (honey) frame.

So, back into the hive by myself. It was a little overcast so no chance of seeing eggs or the queen. I got the smoker working well (paper for starter, cardboard and wood chips for fuel). I smoked them, popped off the top and feeder box. [One thing I noticed when my mentor came over is how slowly he worked as to not disturb the bees, so I intentionally slowed down and it seemed to go smoother]. I then took out the short frame and set it beside the box. I then took out and examined the remaining frames.

Two of the frames were almost identical with lots of brood on both sides. The third frame was filled with mostly honey, nectar and pollen (and a little brood). So, I put the empty comb in between the brood and honey frames. The half frame still had a bunch of bees on it. Not having a bee brush (several folks said I did not need one), I decided to shake the bees from the short frame into the hive. Well, they seemed to come off OK, but they sure seemed aggravated (lots of buzzing around my head). Perhaps this is normal, but I may reconsider a bee brush.

Anyway, with the short frame clear, I closed up the box, put the feeder back on (only a 1/4 jar left) and closed it up. I propped open the top to allow some circulation, because we are still dealing with unseasonable heat.

One mistake I made afterwards, was to leave the half frame on the table on my back porch. When I came back later, I found a dozen or so bees had found it. So, I had to shake these off the frame (having removed my bee jacket at that point). Fortunately, they were nice to me and I didn't get stung. I took the short frame, wrapped it in plastic and put it in my freezer. I'll return it too my mentor later.

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