Since it had been a while, I decided to go out and check on all the hives to see what was up. The natural swarm hive is doing about as well as expected from a hive untouched by man. (3, 4) Lots of comb and in a video I saw lots of capped cells. I also saw the queens in all the other hives so I know they’re in there.
The massive extraction colony (1, 2) is doing exceptionally well, and they seem to be hoarding all the honey. They have a huge hive beetle problem though so I’m not sure how they’re gonna fare. They don’t seem to know how to use the traps that I put in there, so the hive beetle population is huge. I might remove their inner cover to minimize beetle hiding space.
Easter Hiveland (5, 6, 7, 8) apparently swarmed right as the summer dearth hit so the colony doesn’t have any honey at the moment. They have lots of spotty brood and a queen though so I’ll hold out hope for them for a while. I might reduce them a little to hopefully ward off the hive beetles and keep them a little less spread out. They have quite a large population but they are only inhabiting the lower box for some reason.
And my latest little extraction (9) seems to have swarmed as well, but the remainder of the colony didn’t do so well. They have maybe a full frame’s worth of brood across three frames and no honey stored up. I moved them in to a nuc to keep them safe and hopefully ward off ant attacks. Their queen seems a little…lazy? I’m not sure what to call her. She doesn’t move much and her laying pattern is restricted to just the center of the frames.
The super-hive Florin (no photos) has consolidated their brood space. (I assume in preparation for the winter.) Now they only take up about 6-7 frames, and have another 5-6 frames of mixed pollen and honey in the front of the hive. I didn’t see any large honey reserves anywhere in the brood area, but they probably just have it stored further back. They are much more calm than usual which is rather concerning for me. I’m not sure what that means, but they usually are really defensive.
Saw a really neat plexiglass observation hive in an apple orchard by my grandparents house. I spotted the queen on the back side but she buried herself in the masses of bees shortly after.
They are super packed in there and my hope is that they won’t swarm out before it gets too late. A swarm this size this late will inevitably fail…
This was a big week for our hives! We spent Saturday pulling honey, shaking each frame free of bees before taking them inside to be spun in our extractor. Despite having only one hive, we managed to pull between 5 and 6 gallons again this year. Nefertiti’s hive was very productive!
We also did some basic hive maintenance and tested for varroa.
Lastly, we said goodbye to Queen Ophelia and Queen Nefertiti. We installed new queens Thursday morning. Please welcome Queen Persephone and Queenie!!
So I’m gonna chalk this one up as my most underwhelming yet time consuming beemoval yet. The swarm of bees that left the hive when I forced them to abscond was only a little bigger than Pineapple, and their hive inside the tree was completely overrun by hive beetles and void of all honey and brood. Poor things would have been gone by the end of the year anyways…
Well at least I got them in to a safe hive now and have lots of wax to melt. Hopefully it’s not too nasty.
Tried forcing a wild hive to abscond before realizing they were way out of reach. While in process I saw a bee sting an ant, and the stinger stick and pull out. That’s crazy. I’ve never seen that happen before.
Uh. So. I walked outside to get a pic or two of my super hive for a friend and looked up just in time to see what I assumed to be a queen bee flying out from one of my fenceline hives. It definitely wasn’t a worker because it was too big, and it was flying out and up instead of simply over the house like the others were.
Not sure what’s going on but if that’s a new queen’s mating flight I’m happy.