Monday, August 27, 2007

Hive inspection. Long Live the Queen!!!!!!!!!

Hate to sound so corny, but ……. Nature is a wonderful thing, and it knows what is doing. Not only did the hive manage to raise a new queen, but they seem to have raised a pretty good one. From the looks of it, she has been very busy laying for about 4 or 5 days. Exactly what Michael Bush’s Bee math page predicted.
The inspection was not easy, but I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to see if the hive had a new queen.

This is about the sixth time I have done a hive inspection. The previous times were of my original hive that I installed in late April. They grew to about five drawn out frames - a weak hive in everyone's book, but to me all those bees looked intimidating. Inspecting a hive that is about 75% of full strength (my best uneducated guess) was, I must admit, a little intimidating and quite the rush. Currently I’m reading Ross Conrad’s Natural Beekeeping – Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture. The cover of the book has Mr Conrad wearing nothing but a baseball cap, kneeling over an open hive, and holding a full frame. In it he mentions how he rarely finds "it necessary to use a veil, let alone a bee suit”, “a well lit smoker, and a calm focused demeanor”is all he needs. I decided to be the young Jedi and feel the force. Few minutes later after further review while lighting the smoker I though …… OK No beekeeper gloves, just the veil. Sorry Mr. Conrad, I was just not feeling the force that strong.

Since I don’t trust my eyesight to see important things, I set the camera up on one side of the hive on a tripod. As close as possible so every frame I pull out hangs over the hive. Don’t want to risk dropping the queen. Prying the top cover from a hive that hasn’t been opened in 24 days is no easy task, I’m learning to take my time and relax. Last thing I wanted to do was lift any of the frames out with the top cover, and make a lot of bees angry. I removed the cover by pushing it back and forth a few times with out lifting. I took a picture of it, as I mentioned before, I don’t trust that I will see important things. Please notice my finger on the top right, NO gloves, and a couple of Small hive beetles circled in red. I find it a lot easier to scrutinize every inch of those pictures later on.

Then I removed frame number 2, (or 9 depending on which side you are suppose to start counting). I purchased a local Beekeepers hive, and he was kind enough to put the frames in my hive body. Things looked good, the frames are not my original brand new purchased ones, and it seems from the color of the wax, that this foundation and wax is probably old. Color looks nothing like the color of the wax in my previous hive. Removing this frame was no easy task either; I need to get myself one of those one handed frame pullers. The frame slipped out of my fingers twice, luckily I was just trying to pull it out, so it was maybe ½ inch out of the hive body. Each time there was a loud BUZZ in return. Several bees came up, and after I smoked them, instead of going back down they took to flying around. The rest of the Jedi force, and cool calm demeanor went out the window. I stepped back, reloaded the smoker, and put on my gloves.

With frame 2 out of the way, I slid back frames 3 and 4. I know the brood should start from the middle out, so I decided to pull frame 4 up and out. No need to be an expert to see what I was looking for. I could see good groupings of uncapped brood and tons of eggs on this frame (click on picture). By now I’m sweating up a storm wearing a long sleeve shirt, gloves, and a veil in 95 degree weather. So I called it a day, replaced the frames and closed the hive up. Twenty days of waiting and worrying. I did absolutely nothing, but I feel like such an expert when it comes to re-queening.

So what’s next? Finding out when and how is the best way to start replacing the frames in the hive for new fresh ones. My though, but is just an educated guess. Move the outside frames (1 and 10) out. These outside frames are nothing but honey, extract them, move all the other frames out, and install two new frames in the middle. Let the bees fully draw this new frames out, and rearrange the hive. Then repeat the process until there are all new frames in the box.

No comments:

Powered by WebRing.
Powered by WebRing.