Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hive Inspection Late August

Well I put the inspection off, the weekend we had Irene and I built brood boxes and special frames for recovering a hive on Sunday. I knew the bees likely had too much sugar syrup, I'm still learning these things. The top feeder must be used in moderation I believe. I expected the hive to be out of space and I was right.

This frame is one of 4 frames entirely full of honey, no brood just honey nearly 10 pounds of honey. This brood box was installed around July 01 with brand new frames, so the bees had to draw out the wax and make the honey, not bad for two months. The bad news is this honey is mostly made from sugar syrup and not very good honey, the bees will need in over the winter.
Same frame as above full of honey. Those bees are intent on full the entire frame!
These raised capped brood are drone brood, not seen many drone brood in my hive since the hive was installed in May 2001.
Finally I have a photo of an bee emerging, I saw 3-4 today during my inspection.

Another first for the hive, that round cell is a supersedure cell, the cell queens are raised in. I found two of these and both appeared to have been exited, not a good thing at all. It means either my queen failed/perished and the bees raised a new queen and she would be a virgin queen making it a long time until I get new brood. This late in the season not having brood continually building the hive is not a good thing. The other reason for a supersedure cell is the bees are/were planning to swarm and leave to hive, due to lack of space or other problems.
That little black beetle is a Small Hive Beetle, saw more than I cared for today, managed to kill a few of them. Fast little guys too. I believe  I pulled out 2 of their larva, all white and slimy.
My late post showed a video of bees bringing in pollen, well there it is bright yellow/orange.
This is the top of the bottom brood box. I removed a lot of built up cells like the ones you see on top of the frames. Some of the wax built up on the side walls of the hive had Small Hive Beetles in it.
This shows eggs in the last frame I checked (number 20), I was pretty worried I was not going to find eggs after not finding any in 19 frames. They are hard to see, those tiny white elongated specks are eggs, correct me if I'm wrong.
This is the extra was I scrapped off the tops and sides of the frames and brood boxes today. A tiny bit of honey to taste too. Now I need to figure out what to do with the wax?
I set the top brood box on these concrete blocks, these bees kind of covered one block pretty good. That brood box was 85-90% honey and 70 pounds at least it was heavy! They were still filling cells with honey and all the wax was drawn out. So I added a honey super. For those of you wondering what is a honey super, it is a shallower box like the brood box you put on the top for the bees to fill with honey.

Today was the first time I took off the upper brood box since it was installed in early July, not my best move. It should have been inspected the last time I inspected but there were so many bees and they got angry I did not do it. I learned today these boxes are heavy and replacing them back in the stack full of bees kills a lot of bees, I need to learn the best way to take them off and replace them so not to kill so many of them that crawl onto the top of the boxes.
Received my second bee sting today since I got the hive, not too bad on my leg. They could have stung my arms as I was short sleeved. Here in the hive now, two deep brood boxes, one honey super and top feeder (green). Nope the bottle wall behind the hive had not have any progress yet, anyone got a weed eater?

I mentioned in the last post I got some 1 x 12 spruce for $10. Made 4 brood boxes out of it, they sell for $16 each it took me an hour to make them with my table saw..


tina said...

I learn so much about the bees from your bee posts. It looks and sounds like you've been honey farming for a long time but if I recall correctly you just got the hives this year. It's amazing how much you showed and told about here. Too cool on the bee emerging. We had a bee class from an expert here at one of my master gardener meetings. He said he tries to save the wax so the bees can reuse it as it takes a lot of energy from the bees to produce. Maybe check into that. I think he said he left it nearby for them to get. Can't remember it's been a few months but he did say most beekeepers discard it but he thought that was a waste. Anyhow, have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Amazing bee photos. Raising bees is a lot of work, but well worth the effort. Your post is so informative and interesting. It always looks like the bees are so busy, but not organized, yet I know that is not true. I like the CMU block covered in bees. That will give me a sleepless night as I am allergic.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Actually that round cell looks like a Queen cup, not the classic 'peanut' shape of a supercedure cell, and if you have more than one, your Queen may not have been replaced. When your hive becomes cramped (filled with honey, or sugar water), the workers will often build Queen cups, sometimes many of them, in preparation for swarming (which isn't uncommon in the fall, although less common than in spring). We had a few earlier in the year. Unless there is clear evidence the cup had been capped at some point, it's likely just 'hive furniture'. If the space problem is corrected in the hive (as we did), the bees will often deconstruct them. They can be slightly alarming to see, but it's sort of the bee's way of saying they need more room. Once they're capped though, swarming is imminent. With supercedure cells, most of the ones I've seen have holes on the SIDE where the Queen chewed out, not at the bottom. Was your original Queen marked? She might still be there, especially as you found eggs. I wish our large hive had so few drones, if that Queen had made less drones, I suspect we wouldn't be drowning in Varroa! Your hive looks great!

Karen said...

There is always much to learn from blogs and this is no exception. Amazing process to watch-but I know I couldn't do it.

Your hive has produced so much already and it hasn't been that long. Too bad there always has to be pests, we could all live without them.

And the bottle wall looks great, we'll be right over with the weed whacker. Speaking of bottles, if you have the time, check out this link. I found it to be fascinating and thought of your wall right away.


Andrea said...

Hi Randy, this is a great post and very informative. I might not be able to learn them but i am sure the word supercedure cell for the queen-to-be will remain in my vocabulary, haha! I sent your link as well as Curbstone Valley Farm's links to my friend who intends to raise bees too, however he is still learning before the actual set-up. I am really impressed at your progress. By the way, what will you do with those lots of honey? How can honey be gathered without killing or threatening the bees? I am more interested in harvesting honey which is my favorite! thanks.

Rico said...

Hello! This is Andrea's friend, Tristan. Just thought of dropping you a message and saying thank you as I am learning a lot from your posts. Have a great day! :)

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

Aren't bees amazing! I love my hives. They aren't mine, but the beekeeper lets me come along when he goes in and shows me everything. I always forget the camera, because I'm so excited. I love your photos. I also love how you painted the hive. Hope you get some rain. I was sorry to hear about your pond drying up.

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