Friday, March 14, 2008

The Bees are back in town!

Well we start again.

After a couple of months of build up at my mentor's abode a new colony has returned to an old location.

I must admit I did not understand what was meant by "a split" until I saw it - and it was pretty simple. He had assembled a double brood box with my box on the bottom. He found the queen and put it in my box and we simply sealed it up and I took it away. He took the other brood box, and it became the bottom box - that's it, they were split. He will be looking for the other brood box to produce a new queen for themselves.

So, here is my box in transport mode. The top was replaced with a screen covered inner cover. This allowed the colony some ventilation during the transport. He then just stuffed a rag in the entrance and I was off.

Once at home I added a quarter queen excluder* and put two medium supers on top with bare foundation. With any luck they will begin pulling comb in the supers and filling them with honey! Yahoo!

*Oh yeah, what is a quarter queen excluder? He told me to get one, so I searched on the bee supply sites and no one sold such a thing so I went ahead and bought a normal Queen excluder. Well, when I got to his house he showed me a quarter queen excluder - it is simply a normal queen excluder cut into fourths -- quarters. The purpose of the queen excluder is to keep the queen down in the brood chamber. The problem with a full excluder is that sometimes it not only keeps out the queen but also inhibits the workers from moving up to the supers. So, the "quarter queen excluder" sits over the center of the brood chamber were the queen spends most of her time and so for the most part keeps her in the brood box while allowing the workers to come and go as they please - marvelous! So when I got home I cut (gulp) my brand new queen excluder into quarters.

And for the record, I had a discussion on BeeSource about foundation - in which I discussed a variety of foundation purchased for the supers. The supers I put on this hive contained Mann Lake "thin surplus" foundation.

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