Tuesday, June 15, 2010

challenges in the apiary

this past weekend, i was able to carve some time and go thru the hives, see whats up and whats the next steps i need to take.

i have the hives named - based upon where i got them and allows me to keep somethings straight in my head.

so i have the following hives:

first serrano hive
folsom hive
second serrano hive
nuc hive
first construction hive
garbage can hive
second construction hive
third construction hive

not soon after i started working the hives, my neighbor called up to me and said she saw one of my hives swarm. my neighbor isnt a fan of bees, but she has a good attitude on it. but i wasnt sure if she might have confused a swarm with a big orientation flight.
i worked first serrano and folsom hives, sorting frames in both and adding a honey super on the folsom hive. got to the second serrano hive and found the neighbor was right. there was about 7 sealed queen cells (see pix) and it was obvious this was the swarmed hive and the neighbor was right. why did it swarm? who really knows, as hives based upon swarms and not requeened do have a tendency to be swarmy - but i bet i didnt place a second story on the hive soon enuff. so on a second story went - kinda like closing the barn door after the horse got out - but better late than never.

the nuc hive looked, good found the queen and added a second story to it.
the garbage can hive needed to be moved from the nuc box to a full size hive (it was sitting on top of the first construction hive). there was old comb in there that bees had made a mess of. in transferring to the new hive, i may have injured the queen. time will tell, but this hive may be re-queening itself, if i dented her too much. although i thought i was being careful, its obvious i wasnt careful enough.

the first construction hive (destined to be bill bird's hive) i saw eggs laid in cells - but numerous eggs (usually a sign of laying workers or a young queen). upon further inspection, i saw a cluster of bees under the bottom board on the metal screen - and there was a queen bee. thinking it was the queen for the first construction hive, i marked her and placed her in the hive - where she was immediately balled up by the resident bees. not a good sign. by the end of the day that queen was dead and the future of that hive is up in the air. so bill, this hive may or may not make it - but i have others, so we are still on track - no worries.
the second and third construction hives were still in the nuc boxes they were placed in upon capture and it was time to liberate them to full size hives. when the hives were originally captured - i placed the brood comb into the nucs to help the hives in their transition to a new home.
the second construction hive cleaned up pretty quick - found the queen, marked her and moved the brood comb to frames and all is well. the third construction hive was bit more of a challenge. in it i found the same sealed queen cells that i placed in there from the original capture - but i saw evidence of eggs. so what to do.

i created new hive (lets call it the new queen hive) - i moved the queen cells to a nuc, shook off some worker bees and now its a waiting game.

luckily, i got a call this week from the construction site and there are another 3 hives that need to be gathered - so keith and i will be up early saturday morning to gather them. 2 to my apiary and 1 to fill up keith's extra hive. so bill - as you can see, we will get one to you and venus no matter what.


  1. I just got back from South West Washington. My brother has got back into bees big time. He currently has 9 hives and is going to increase it to 25 as swarms allow him to. He's building his own boxes, tops, supers and other bee related items. He has mostly Italians but does have a hive each of Russians and Carniolans.

  2. Garry,

    If you need any help -- I don't have the full suit -- but I do have hat -- gloves and I don't mind stings that much.