Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Late posting for September

To bring you up to speed after my last post I ended up ordering a Zia queen as one of the swarms didn't fare so well.  The Zia queen was incredible but also very wierd.  I put her in and let them be for a week, when I finally decided to peek in on them she was laying wonderfully.  So I figured I'd just feed them a bit and they'd build up great for winter, however thats not how it worked out.  After about 2 weeks I checked in on the new queen to discover 3 queen cells and no queen, I decided maybe she just didn't like my hives and left things alone.  Much to my suprise she had taken up residence two hives over.  I know it had to be her because I only had 1 marked queen and I found her and the hives original queen.  This completely befuddled me because everything I've read says 2 queens won't leave others alone, which I guess is mostly true because she ended up in one of the other nuc's and I was fine with that because that was another naturally mated queen that was doing so-so...

Fast forward to the start of September and this was my layout:

Hive 1: Originally from a nuc, swarmed and produced an incredible queen very heavy with winter stores, good bee population

Hive 2: Originally from a nuc, had build up issues and the bee bread mystery, was visited by the Zia queen, light on stores needed heavy feeding, has an ok bee population

  • I tried feeding this hive with heavy sryup 5:3 but they really didn't want to take it till the end of sept
  • Failure on my part to do a full tear down inspection -- feels like about 80 lbs
  • Made up some sugar boards to feed later in the winter

Hive 3: First swarm from hive 1, iffy queen possible drone layer, possibly laying worker, very very light on stores. Small worker population.

  • Found the queen and set her aside -- Did a full hive shake out on the other side of my 6 acres
  • this hive was eating about a gallon of 5:3 syrup every 3-5 days
  • Did a follow up inspection at the end of sept laying patter much better stores much better

Hive 4: Afterswarm from hive 1, queen never spotted, after 30 days no queen sign found, installed Zia queen, 1 full medium super of honey, fair bee population

  • Did feed a small amount
  • Seems to be doing ok
  • Zia queen left queen cells behind

Nuc 1 & 2 were were just attempts at producing queens nuc 1 was a complete failure.  Nuc 2 produced queens but they didn't mate well, but was overtaken by the Zia queen who likes to run amok.

  • Nuc 1 combined with Nuc 2
  • Nuc 2 Ignoring all feed
  • Mid september inspection Zia queen missing, 3 new queen cells... (WTF is up with this zia queen)

So all in all half my hives aren't as promising for winter stores as I would like but my Zia queen has gotten around and we'll see how her daughters fair.