Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nairobi's New Queen

The new Minnesota Hygienic queen came in the mail on Friday.  I removed the old queen from the hive and popped her in the freezer.  On Saturday I put the new queen into the hive with the cork out of the candy end of the queen cage.  I will check back in a couple of days to make sure she has been released.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Check In

The kids and I looked in on all three hives today.  The weather was sunny on a weekend for the first time in a while.  Both Langstroth hives have been very busy this month when the weather has permitted.  The KTBH has been much more quiet, though.

Felix - busy, happy hive.  They are still working on filling the bottom hive body and not much work upstairs in the second hive.  I pulled the feeder box off.  It was empty and they don't need it now with everything in bloom.

Oscar - same as Felix.  Looks like they have good comb on 8 out of 10 bars in the brood chamber.  Nothing happening in the honey reserve box yet.  This is probably the last time I will look into the brood chamber on this hive. 

I have supers prepped for both Oscar and Felix, but neither needed supering today.  The wild clover started blooming about a week ago, so the nectar flow should start any day.  The crimson clover I planted is starting to bloom and the yellow clover should be a week or two behind that.  I will check in on the Langs in a couple of weeks to see if they need supers.

That leaves the Nairobi hive.  The Buckfast queen that shipped with this hive's package of bees underwent some stress as noted in an earlier post.  She is not laying well.  There is no capped or open brood and a lot of drones.  This could mean the workers are laying or that she is just not up to the task.  In either case, I ordered another queen to replace her and it should arrive this week.  I hope the remaining bees are not too old to support the new queen and that the workers are not laying and will accept her.

Queen spotted

Honey on top, but no brood.  Same bar as above

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend Inspections

My son Jack and I peeked into the Langstroths on Sunday to check on the comb building and to add a second deep to Felix.

Felix is building out comb nicely on the foundationless frames.  The nuc I installed was full foundation and even one plastic frame, but they are taking to foundationless just fine. To give them a clue that they should start building in the new deep, I moved a frame that had only comb with some stores on it into the new one.

Oscar is coming along nicely.  The brood chamber has comb that extends below where the bottom bars would normally be on standard frames.  There are empty cells where there were previously capped brood which means new bees have hatched out.  The queen was spotted and all signs point to continued laying as I saw capped and uncapped brood.  They are also starting to store honey across the tops of the combs.  The honey reserve box with empty frames showed no sign of being built on, so I swapped a frame from the brood chamber with comb on it up into the reserve box.  I removed the bottom bar from reserve #7 frame and stuck it on brood #7 frame.  Hopefully the bees will take the hint and start building on the reserve frames.

Next inspection is slated for June 12th, weather permitting.  I want to give the bees a couple of weeks to work undisturbed.

The Felix bees had no problem switching to foundationless

Another foundationless frame from Felix

Felix with the second deep installed

Oscar brood frame with a drone cell visible (yellow bump in the middle)