Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bee Bread Mystery

So I did my inspection a day early I should have waited but I felt like being outdoors.  I also went gloveless today which I probably wasn't ready to do... I started with my two main hives, unfortunately after a few photos I took a stinger to the thumb which made me jump and take a stinger to the next 3 fingers.  Most of the time a sting just hurts but today all 4 fingers swelled and became too stiff to operate the camera.

The hive with just medium boxes was concerning me the most, last time I was in there I saw 5 or 6 queen cups like they were thinking about swarming.  Digging through the box they didn't appear to be honey bound but I think they may have bound themselves with bee bread/pollen.


The bottom hive body had 6 of 10 frames filled like that on both sides, the next one up had 3 frames filled both sides with the other 7 frames having a spattering of brood and nectar.  I went frame by frame and started to get a little worried that the queen had taken a swarm and left.  When I finally found her up in the honey super laying in whatever cell she could find. They've only drawn 4 of 10 frames in the honey super so I haven't been real eager to add another just yet. I did do some re-arranging of empty s with bee bread down below which is probably why I got stung.  Hopefully the queen will get to laying again and they'll give up on swarming.

The hive that swarmed had one hive body with 5 of 10 frames full of bee bread and maybe that's why they swarmed.  That hive was done with deeps and has now became the bane of my inspections.  Both of the  deeps will be cut down come spring and if I could figure out a way to do it now and let them keep their stores I would.  I didn't see the queen or any sign that they have a queen. I found where she hatched and she chewed out the other cells but I'm starting to wonder if she didn't make it back from her mating session.8 more day's will be a month since that hive swarmed so I'll wait till next Friday before I give in and order a queen.

Swarm 1:

Seems to be doing all right building comb like crazy and they're doing a pretty good job of it no wild and crooked combs.  This is the one where I got shots of the queen returning from her mating flight on Saturday. I would hope she'll start laying by end of week.

Swarm 2:

Isn't doing as well it's not drawing out comb all that quickly and I saw the open queen cell but I haven't seen her in the nuc.

The nuc I started off the extra queen cells well they built up comb but the queen's didn't hatch, this will get combined with swarm 2 next week.  Which makes sure swarm 2 has plenty of time for the queen to go out and mate and come back before I adjust their housing.  If I don't see egg signs by next Friday I may end up combining both with swarm 1, but if I have to order a queen maybe I'll just get two... but I don't think they'll build up enough to survive the winter so it's iffy.