Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Merging

So I've been a tad lax on keeping the blog up to date.  So to bring you up to date, the last 4 weeks have been a little on the boring side.  Which is part of the reason I hadn't posted anything.  The two hives have been moving along slowly, solid brood patterns and decent nectar retrieval.  I've also been working on implementing my plan to have one hive of mediums and one hive of the standard setup.  So I had been swapping out deep frames that had nothing other than a bit of pollen with medium frames with spacers.

They went in looking like this:

 And came out nicely filled in:

Now last weeks inspection made me a bit nervous, I noticed as the little workers were hatching they were back filling with nectar and leaving no where for the queen to lay.  Which I wondered about since they hadn't really started working on their second boxes.  They had filled in maybe 3 frames and instead of building more comb they were being lazy and back filling.  Which at made me think this would be the perfect time to accomplish the great merge.  90% of the deep frames were turned into honey and some of the mediums had some decent brood.  So I made preparations to make the switch over today.

I started with the hive that would be running in just mediums and moved all the filler frames over without their spacers of course. They really didn't mind their move except when I cut a 2 of the wires I got honey everywhere.  They still didn't mind much they just went to work cleaning up my mess.  That left the nurse bee's on the 4 deep frames, that's when it got interesting and I completely forgot that I had the camera.  I felt it would be best to leave the nurse bee's in their hive, so I tried shaking them, smoking them and neither succeeded, so I broke out the bee brush.

I started brushing the little gals down and it was sudden insanity bee's everywhere on the second frame I found the queen, I tried to gently move her to a frame back in the hive and she had other plans, she wandered off to the edge of the hive then fell into the grass...  That made me so nervous I stripped my gloves so I could pick her up without damaging her, and then set her on a medium frame back in the hive.  As I was lowering her down into the hive, I had workers crawling all over my hand trying to get to her which is a weird feeling, as soon as I sat her down they led her deeper into the hive away from me.  I managed to get a couple stings after that before I could get my gloves back on.

The next frame I got to see the neatest thing, drones being born.  If you click on it you can see 4 heads chewing their way out.

The rest of the move was fairly smooth, I filled in the 4 missing frames with foundationless frames, and gave them an extra super.  The extra space may have been too much too soon, but I'll be gone for two weeks and don't want to take a chance on any swarming.

There were a few left over bees maybe 500ish in the deep so I decided I'd just move the deep over and do a newspaper combine.  Which started out as a great idea....but when I filled in the missing frames, I forgot about the frame with the massive honey burr.  When you smash those it makes quite the mess.  I'd already stirred things up too much to try and repair it.  So I decided to leave it be and hope for the best.  As long as the queen doesn't get honey rained on her I think they'll be fine.

I also gave the deeps a honey super which may have been a bit much but this hive had only 1 hive body all this time so their main hive body was erupting with bee's.  As soon as they can get along with the upstairs neighbors I think they'll be moving right up into the honey supers.

Also the other reason I hadn't been keeping up with my posts, is I had to build a watering hole for the bee's to keep them out of the pool and it turned out something like this:

I need to get a newer picture one that actually has the flowers we put in.  The pond isn't quite finished it needs some rocks and a few more flowers.

Anyway that's a wrap for today hopefully everyone will settle in while I'm off to the west coast.