We migrated to the farm last Saturday, maybe this is the summer home and the Raleigh home is the weekend home. Trying it as an experiment. I will say working in the garden after dinner, watching the sunset, feeling the cool of the evening coming on is not a bad way to end a day.
Right now I am sitting on the front porch watching the sunset and working on the blog. I just finished some bush hogging. Note to self, the bees are cranky, not good idea to pass their hive, got chased second time by. Learned lesson, tall grass is still there. Maybe wear bee suit to mow? Hmmm.
So last Sunday morning, I finally had a chance to check on the new queens/bees. I suited up, got the smoker going and had made up some syrup. I checked the weak hive first. I am at a loss. When I put the new queen in the weekend before, the hive probably had several thousand bees in it. They had been storing honey and pollen. When I opened the hive, the queen had gotten out (there is a candy plug in the queen cage that she and the bees eat through). However, there were only a few hundred bees!!!! No new brood and no marked queen that I could see. There weren’t a lot of dead bees around so I am wondering if the new queen was released and immediately convinced the hive to swarm with her.
The gentleman that I bought the bees from had told a story of one queen that he had sold, the bee keeper couldn’t find it after it was released. The queen raising gentleman told him not to worry, it had probably flown back home and he would be happy to sell it to him again! It sounded like a tall tale to me, but after seeing the hive gone, I am not sure what to think.
I opened the second of the nuc hives and things were going well there, queen released, lots of new brood. Overall, looked great. I decided that I would put the decimated hive on to that hive. They recommend merging by putting newspaper in-between the hives deeps, but there were so few bees in the hive that I didn’t think it would matter.
I checked the swarm hive, which had a second deep on top. Not much was going on with the second deep there, but there was lots of brood. I wanted to move the two remaining hives together so I took both deeps off and move the base onto two cinder blocks. I put the hives back together and fed both hives.
Since I though the bees may have swarmed, I got motivated to put together the two swarm traps. I looked on my friend Google for hints. It was a bit sparse. I found a few pictures and they led me to understand that maybe the directions the gentleman gave me when I bought them might have been wrong. I didn’t have a clear idea, but I came up with something that worked. I used electrical wire and there were some punch out in the main pot and the top. In these pictures you can see how I tied the wire off inside the main pot and how I threaded them through the top to make some thing to hang.
Somehow when I wen to put the hives back together, I messed up. I didn’t discover this till I checked the bees Wednesday evening. I hadn’t been seeing many bees going in and out of the nuc hive and they hadn’t finished their syrup. (The swarm hive was dry!) I decided to do a quick inspection. I found I had not put the decimated hive deep onto the new nuc deep. I had put it on the swarm deep. The bees were going to town in the swarm hive, lots of bees up in the deep. When I looked in the new nuc hive, it had the new empty deep on it. There was no comb build up and the bees were down in the lower deep. Only a few were coming up for syrup. I put everything back together, it was too late to move the deeps around without causing a mess. I decided that if I needed to, in a few weeks, I may pull some brood frames from another hive and put into the weaker hive. Hopefully that would boost up the bees and get it going. Have to see…
While I was suited up I went to the one old hive where the bees had produced honey in the medium and shallow that I had placed above the queen excluder. I had put the trap in there over the weekend so that when the bees exited the bodies, they couldn’t return. Most of the bees were out of the bodies, so I pulled them off and set them on the porch of the house. (BTW, I guess the bees were cranky when I went by on the bush hog, because they were missing their honey. Amazing how they “think”.)
We will have a honey harvest here in a few weekends when we have a some time. Between the medium and the shallow, I bet there is about 70 lbs of honey! Mmmm, can hardly wait for the honey harvest day!