Monday, July 1, 2013

I May Have Dodged A Bullet Today

My Dad called a little while ago and said he thought the queen in the swarm I hived recently must not be doing very well. He said there was a swarm on a tree limb this morning close to the hive where I put the swarm. I told him that it had rained pretty hard a little while ago and it's doubtful they would still be there. But I went out and looked and they were still there. I was only going to pop the top and see if I could see a reason for them swarming, but there were a few bees on top of the inner cover around the entrance feeder I had there, so nothing unusual. So, since I had long gloves on, I took the feeder out and lifted the inner cover.

Ugh. Wax moths! Little worms everywhere. The comb I had tried to move from the swarm trap to empty frames in the hive had all kind of fell/melted into the bottom of the hive and there were hundreds (if not thousands) of little worms all in it. I guess the reason they had swarmed was they really were absconding. Luckily, they were only about 10 feet from the hive on a limb. So I took the hive box apart and cleaned out all of the frames, and scraped the comb/worms off of the bottom board. I set the comb and the frames out in the sun (from what I have read, wax moths and larvae are kind of like vampires: They really don't like the sun). I got some new frames and put them in the deep box and added a cottonball with some lemongrass oil on it, put the inner cover on and put the feeder on top and put the lid on. Me and Dad moved the hive box next to the limb so the swarm wouldn't have far to go and maybe they would smell the lemongrass oil and move back in. I tried to clean it up as well as I could. I told Dad either they will go back in or else they won't.

Here's the hive box and where the swarm was when I got out there to it:

And here's a close up of the swarm:

I did hear a very high pitched humming sound coming from inside the hive box after I had it reassembled. I don't know if it was a scout bee signaling the other bees. My initial thought was that it might have been a queen piping. It was such a unique sound, very different from any buzzing noise I had ever heard. And it was loud, too! Just one more thing for me to wonder about.

Anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed they will stay.

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