Monday, May 11, 2009

TBH Package Follow Up

An inspection to confirm that the queen was release from her shipping cage (click for picture) must be done four to five days after installing a package, whether it is in a Langstroth hive or in a Top bar hive. On Sunday, six days post package installation; I found time to look in on the two new packages, one in the TBH and the other in a regular Langstroth Nuc. Below is a side view of my TBH.

I gave the colony a great kick start by providing it with 3 partially drawn out top bars. Not only did the colony repair and expand the 3 bars I gave them, but they have already drawn out a fourth one. Below is my 1st picture ever of the inside of the hive. To get a better idea of the internal view, tilt your head slightly to the left until the hardware cloth on the bottom of the picture becomes the horizon.

Brood is capped approximately four days after the eggs are laid. Since it takes 3 to 4 days for the queen to be release, there won’t be any capped brood six days after the package is installed. Not even if the queen began laying the minute she was release from her cage. It was hard to get a picture of any hatched eggs or eggs with all the bees hard at work on the honeycomb.

I gently slid the bars from back to front using a box cutter knife to unglue the bars. Many beekeepers claim to use a lot less smoke in Top bar hives, I did use a lot less smoke with this colony, but they are hardly up to full strength and hardly have anything to protect. My guess is that is too early to make a call either way on that myth. Once I made my way to the 3rd bar where I hung the queen’s cage, I gently and nervously pulled the bar out. I needed to remove the queens cage, but I was very apprehensive about dealing with new honey comb wax with no support what so ever. Unfortunately I didn’t catch a good picture of it.

Below is my Top bar hive without its top after my 1st inspection. I’m very pleased with the end result of the design, the paint job colors, the incredible progress of the colony after only a week, and …………….. Wait a freaking minute!!!!!!!! What’s that on the 3rd bar from right to left?? Did I forget to remove the queen’s cage? But I removed the top bar; I have an out of focus picture to prove it!!!!!!! DO’H !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By next weekend when I do an inspection to see if there is capped brood, that cage is going to be permanently part of the honeycomb in that top bar.

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