Sunday, April 5, 2009

Let Nature Do Its Thing

This weekend was my first inspection since I requeened ten days ago. The offspring’s of the new queens will be emerging in about 20 days, that assumes it took 3 or 4 days to release her from the cage and maybe an additional day for them to begin to laying eggs. It would be a safe bet to assume the hives attitude change should begin in about a month, and a total of 2 to 2 ½ months for all the bees in the hives to be offspring’s of the new queens.
I began my inspection with the weak NUC, sad to say, it was too weak and it didn’t make it. The traffic in and out of it was from all the bees robbing it of its resources.
I moved on to “Old Faithfull”. The picture below is of the top of the second super. The nine frames of this supper will most likely be ready to rob in 2 weeks.

The new queen was released and it moved right into the deep box. I found a small problem with the TBH bars I placed as a replacement of the two frames I removed to make room for the queen’s cage. The bees began working the comb from the bottom up, instead of working from the top down. The two TBH frames I had hoped to be drawn out were not touched at all. Instead I had to remove large pieces of cells from the bottom to make room for reinserting the frames. Weird, I though bees worked comb from the top down. The word disappointment doesn’t describe how I felt when I though none of the TBH (top bar hive) frames were worked on. I though it was a solid idea.I moved to the next hive, the Eager colony. The queen was released and to my surprise these ladies did work on my TBH bar that I left in here. Pictures below are worth a thousand words. I placed the queen’s cage (face down) over the top of the frames of the deep body.

I put the super back on minus one frame. The frame that would have sat on top of the cage and would have been pushed out. In its place I took one of my TBH bars so that today I would get a drawn out frame for the package being installed in the TBH (Early May)
Here is the adjacent frame in the super. It is a great picture to learn the differences between capped honey and capped brood. The capped honey is light in color and flat across the surface. Capped brood is darker and the individual cell caps are distinguishable from one to the other. To the left are also hatch eggs about 4 to 6 days old. They are probably the first eggs laid by the new queen before moving down to the deep body.

How can I tell the queen moved down? Simple, the frame above shows it being backfilled with honey. The workers have filled the cells below the capped brood with honey, and since the flip side is full (picture below) along with all the adjacent frames, there is no other place to lay but below in the deep. This super will probably be ready to rob in 20 days.
Finally time for my mean hive, I decided to leave them for last, since more bees from this hive will follow me through out the inspection of all the hives. When you inspect a hive a couple of mad bees from the first will be buzzing you as you inspect the adjacent hive. During the inspection of the second hive some mad bees will join the mad bees from the first hive, and by the time I’m done with the third hive I have quite the following going. Now I’m talking about 4 bees from each hive, tops.
So I open my Mean hive in which I put two TBH bars, and to my delight two drawn out TBH bars came out with the top.

I left all the drawn out frames (3) out on the yard to be cleaned. I don’t want to put cells with honey into the TBH to attract other critters before I install a package.

Now, unlike the super frames from previous hive (see nice super frame above) the bees in this hive don’t seem to like my starter strip too much. They drew out my TBH bar nicely, but the adjacent frame was completely off.

I did some minor trimming in an attempt to correct things, and gently shook the bees off the TBH bars in top of the hive. They very nicely just walked right in. OK, who are these nice bees and what have they done with my mean hive???

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