Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Late Update

Haven't upadated lately.  I've been feeding the bees some (although I probably should have been feeding more).  The goldenrod is blooming like crazy and the entrances are very yellow, so I assume they're bringing in lots of pollen.

The 10-frame hive isn't doing so well.  I think it may have gotten robbed out before I got the screens on.  There are lots of bees in it, but no honey and I didn't see any brood.  I tried putting a new queen in (I ordered it from WT Kelley, and it came in the mail) there a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't looked into it lately.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get inside and see what's going on.  The other hives are doing ok, with one doing extremely well, judging from the weight.

It's going to be time to get serious about winter soon.  The daytime highs have been in the 80s lately, and this next week is going to be high 70s maybe 80.  So cool weather is right around the corner.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Still Undecided

Well, I just don't know about this 10-frame hive. We went into it again this morning, and most of the bees were in the top super. There's lots of capped cells (not honey but syrup that I've been feeding them). Didn't spot a queen. The bottom two deeps are drawn comb, but empty - no brood or capped cells, just comb. Saw one hive beetle and squished it. No wax moths. But there were many more bees than I remembered being in there.

I just have a feeling the queen is in the top super and maybe has stopped laying because of the dearth. Or maybe there's not a queen and the bees are capping cells out of instinct. It seems to me that if there were a laying worker, there would be some eggs and some capped drone cells. But there's not. Just empty cells. And if all the bees were robbers, they wouldn't bother capping the cells.

So, since I'm going to be working the next four nights, I'm going to feed them good and look at them next Tuesday. I ordered a queen today and it will be here hopefully next Thursday. If there's a queen in there, then the new queen will be unnecessary and will probably be killed, unless the queen that's in there is weaker than the new one. I'm just experimenting to see what happens. I will just lay the queen cage in there and see if the bees accept it or if they get mad (like there's already a queen there).

I was reading today that a lot of people lost hives to starvation this summer due to the bad weather. Maybe that's what has this hive in such bad shape. Anyway, no matter how it turns out, I will learn something!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Woes

I went into the hives today.  The 10-frame hive had lots of bees, but no eggs, no brood and no queen.  I have been trying to figure out what might have happened to it.  Maybe she starved during the dearth before I started feeding them.  There's lots of bees in the hive, and some pollen and nectar.  And they beard some at night, so I don't think all the bees in the hive were robbers.  Besides the feeder was empty (I need to make some more syrup to feed all the hives because they're still drawing comb).

So now I'm going to try to find a queen for the hive.  If I can't find one, I guess I'll try the frame of eggs/brood a week for three or four weeks to see if they'll make a new queen, but it's getting late in the year for that.

The second hive I opened was plum full of bees.  I looked at the bottom box but didn't pull any frames out.  There was lots and lots of activity there and many more bees than the previous hive, so I think they're ok.  Although I saw more SHBs.  I've got to get some of those screened bottoms with oil tray for the 8-frame hives.

So in a way it's sad because I've got to get a queen for the first hive, but in a way it's good because the other hive I looked into was booming.

The other problem is that trying to pry the second deep off of the first hive pulled my back.  I've been thinking about that, too.  I may have to set another level of cinder blocks under the hive to raise it up so I don't have to bend over so far.  I may need a ladder for the supers, but I can reach easier than I can bend.  I may go to all shallows at this rate!

I'll post again when I have news about the queen.  Have a fun and safe Labor Day!