Monday, April 30, 2018

A Smithfield new beginning

Well, this blog has been dormant a long time.  The beekeeping has been spotty over this time period.  We moved to Smithfield Virginia during this time and am starting some new hives in this locations. 
I actually started two new hives from packages last year.  There was some trouble with the shipper and we got the packages in June.  I think this led to a slow build up and not enough strength to make it through a weird winter.  I lost both these hives, which was consistent with many of the local beekeepers.  Anyway a new beginning...

April 17

I got two nucs this year from Richard Taylor, 164 S. Birdneck Road, Virginia Beach, VA. 23451, 203-803-5262.  He got an order of nucs from a provider in North Carolina.  They are a hybrid bee that is supposed to be a strong producer  These were overwintered nucs.  My son-in-law also got four nucs from him, so it will be interesting to compare notes.

Here are the nucs in the back of my truck.  The boxes were a little beat up, but they were heavy :)

After setting up my son-in-law's hives I brought my two back home.  I had previously set up two deep boxes with 4 frames and an extra medium on top as Richard said these would build up rapidly.  On the opening the nucs the bees were very active and full.  I moved the frames into their new homes.  I put four of the frames next to each other but split one apart with an empty frame to encourage them to build out.  I put an inner over on the top, with a quart jar of sugar water over the opening and covered it with another deep box and cover.

Here is the set-up with the empty nuc boxes set to allow the remaining bees to find their new home.  I took the nuc boxes away the next day as they were empty.  I saw lots of orientation flights as the bees got used to their new home.

April 27, 29

I went back in to check on the bees today.  They were doing great!  Bees had already moved up to the top box and had already about 1/4 filled the box!  It was a nice warm day and the bees were out enjoying the weather.  So - I needed to get some new boxes ready to go on top.  I had some old comb and frames set aside, but also made some new frames with reinforced foundation to put on top.  I went back in on Sunday to add the new boxes.  It was a much cooler day and as such the bees were much quieter.  Although I had the smoker going, I really did not need it except to move the bees a bit.  I put a queen excluder in the second box then the new box on top of that.  I have mixed feelings about queen excluders - so this is another experiment to see how they do.  My worry is that the bees will not move up past the excluder and I may be promoting swarming, but it is nice not to have brood in my honey supers....we'll see.  Here is a pic of the final set-up:

No comments: