Sunday, April 13, 2008

Busy Apiary

From right to left; my empty ten frame deep hive, just in case my main hive decides to swarm, I hope they go there. Mike purchased some swarm bait (Lemon oil, I swear it smells like wood furniture polish), and he let me have a few q-tips soaked in it. I used two to bait the hive. In Florida we need to be aware about African honey bees. There is no difference in behavior of swarms between European or African honey bees, so they can pose a deadly danger. My best and safest scenario are the two 3lb packages on order due to arrive early May; if no one moves into the empty hive one of these packages will get installed in it.

In the middle is my main hive. The bees decided to supersede the queen, ever since there have just been small amounts of eggs. The honey flow has begun, and instead of being up to strength or growing, the hive has been declining. I popped off the top today. There were a handful of bees working the supper, and more of the frames have been drawn out. Definitely not close to the strength it was before the split. An inspection on the 1st week of May should reveal a new laying queen. Sometimes I wonder if they swarmed, aside from the diminish number of bees signs don’t point towards that.

Finally on the left the Top Bar Hive with the Nuc sitting on top of it; this hive is slowly captivating more and more of my attention. I think it might be the fact that I build it myself. I’m waiting for the bees to decide to move down so I can remove the Nuc. The kids and I enjoy taking a peek now and then via the inspection window. The number of bees in the TBH cavity increases daily, but I still have not observed any work been done on the foundation or the top bars.
Below is the view into the TBH. The Boardman feeder can be seen behind the follower board. The bees are no longer taking any sugar syrup. On the other side of the follower board are eight strips of wax foundation, and the hollowed out 1st Top bar that allows the bees to move up into the Nuc cavity.

I decided to pop the top off the Nuc for a quick inspection. I didn’t pull any of the frames out; I didn’t feel it was necessary. The Nuc looks strong, and the Australian bees are starting to out number the local bees that came from the split. Right now all the bees that came with the split are foraging, and all the Australian bees are doing the inside work. My guess is that in less than two months the local bees in the TBH will die off, and the Australians will completely populate this hive. I replaced the top of the Nuc with a top that has zero clearance between the frames and the cover. There was too much burr comb being built in the space. I’m doing anything I can think of to make it as uncomfortable as possible to encourage the bees to move down.
I noticed one thing today on my inspections. The small hive beetle trap was full as usual in my main hive, but there were no beetles to be seen in the TBH. I could only guess why at this point.

No comments:

Powered by WebRing.
Powered by WebRing.