Saturday, March 20, 2010

Opening up the brood nest

With warmer weather ahead of us for the foreseeable future (fingers tightly crossed), I went into the hives again today. Last week when I move the boxes around I may have made a mistake - at the Colonial Beekeepers meeting this week I was reminded the you have to make sure you do not have a "honey cap" blocking the bees from moving upwards to produce new bees. The problem is at this time of year the queen is looking for space to lay a bunch of new bees. If above the current brood area there is a box full of honey that may actually entice the bees to swarm to find more room.

So, I went in to make sure I did not have a honey cap and also to "open up the brood nest". Again, this is about swarm prevention - the bees will swarm if they are cramped, so I went in and put some empty frames in between the frames where the brood was. This gives the queen more room to lay brood and, hopefully, not think about swarming - we'll see.

So, I did this in all three hives. In addition in Hive #3, the brood was on 6 frames all in one box. To pen this one up I moved two frames to the box above and inserted some semi-empty frames in there place. Hope this doesn't freak them out too much.

I also went ahead and removed all of the internal feeders, there is plenty of stuff popping up outside to give them resources

I did not see any swarm cells in the hives (a good thing), there were some drones cells, but not a bunch.

Looked good

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Early Spring Box Swap

On advise from our President (Colonial Beekeepers) I went ahead and did some box swapping today.

All of the hives have ended up in four medium boxes. During the winter the colony moves up the boxes to continue to have stores to make it through the winter. Thus, theoretically the bottom box could become empty. This is not a particular problem except that it gives a false impression of the size of the colony and makes the stack unnecessarily high. Also, as a reminder, I only have three hives at this point - Hive #2, my monster hive from last year, it was the mother of my first split, Hive #3, my split hive, no production last year, Hive #4, a hive that came into its own last year and produced well. So I went in to see what the status was on my hives.

Hive #2. As I took the top off, the bees were all over the top box. I pulled out one frame in the middle and it was full of honey. The other frames also seemed to be being used for honey pollen storage. Next box down was essentially the brood chamber, alot of good looking larva and brood. Next box down had a lot of bees (could be because I smoked them down) but not much else. Bottom box was also completely empty. So, I took the top two boxes and made it the bottom two boxes. I took the box that was second from the bottom and put it on top. I took the bottom most box off of the hive entirely. So from bottom to top - brood box, honey box, empty box.

Hive #4 (this is the order I worked them in). Top box, not much activity, some honey. Next box, lots of honey but not busting. Second from bottom, brood and honey, heavy box. Bottom Box, brood and honey. I decided to leave this one alone as it seemed to be in good order. I may have one too many boxes on it, but it shouldn't hurt at this time of year. So from bottom to top - brood box, brood box, honey box, light honey box.

Hive #3. Top box, pretty empty, some honey. Next box, good honey box. Second from bottom, brood box. Bottom box, empty. So, I took out the bottom box and just moved everything else down a box. So from bottom to top - brood box, honey box, light honey box.

Went to the Horticultural Extravaganza this morning. Sold some honey still left from last year. Never sure what to charge. Sold 8oz bears for 4.00 or two for 7.00 and sold pint jars for 7.00. Feel like I should have charged more for the pints?

Monday, March 1, 2010

just feeding

Went in and replaced the feeders on hives 2 and 3. Hive four was still halfway full.

This post is just for my own records :)