Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013-07-04: Bee Independence Day

Taking advantage of the holiday, I decided to spend some quality time with the gals.  At the Satellite yard I saw that both hives had moderate bearding at the entrances and Goldenrod also had a band of bees loitering at the gap from the queen excluder.  One thing I like about this yard is that there are tall trees on the West side so around noon the site has shade which I hope keeps the bees (and any bee keepers wearing a suit) a little bit cooler and happier.

2013-07-04 10.28.55 Bee Check at Tisberts

I think about 1 in 6 or so bees were bringing in pollen.

Goldenrod’s super was mostly filled, but interestingly the drone frame was undrawn.

2013-07-04 10.38.53 Bee Check at Tisberts   2013-07-04 10.42.48 Bee Check at Tisberts

Hodgepodge had not touched its super and I wonder if the thin plastic queen excluder I was using on it was too much of a disincentive for the bees to cross, so later when I put it back I put it on perpendicular so that there would be large unobstructed areas of travel in the front and back of the boxes.  But, during my inspection I also noticed that the drone frame was drawn and capped (so I cut it out).  Also I noticed what looked like swarm cells one frame over.  I didn’t know what to make of this, was it truly a swarm situation or were they replacing their queen.

2013-07-04 10.55.24 Bee Check at Tisberts

       While I mulled over what to do with Hodgepodge, I went to the main yard to check on them.  I was just in time to see Red issue a swarm!  Fortunately the swarm settled on an easy to reach branch and I was able to capture it.  My process was to spritz the cluster with water (with a little Honey-B-Healthy for good measure).  Then to scoop and brush the bees into a deep in which I had the few deep frames I had to spare and which had a queen excluder on its bottom.  I then placed that on top of a medium with the few other frames I had to spare that was on top of a bottom board.  I placed a inner cover with the hole blocked and then a outer cover on top.  This set up essentially trapped the queen in the deep (sealed cover above and queen excluder below) without whom the swarm would not leave.  Thus ended the attempted revolt of the colonialists!



I checked on Red, the deep used to make the swarm box was the deep that I had on red to store excess frames and it had 2 honey frames in it, which looked like had been partially emptied by the swarm before leaving.  The super was very light, again, probably stripped by the swarm.  I did see some swarm cells.

Well, less than ideal but at least I caught the swarm.  I left to the yard resolving to build more frames so that I could perhaps split Red with its queen cells and to add a super to Goldenrod.  Lack of frames seems to be my bugaboo this season.

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