Oct 09 2014
It’s been 3 weeks since I was in the hives. That’s a lot of self control. It helped that I’ve been working out of town so much that I didn’t really have time.
So yesterday it was a beautiful, warm (72) fall day so about 2pm I went out to see how the girls were doing.
My goals were to:
- check the food stores
- check on the size of the hive
- determine if they need food
- get both hives down to 5 western boxes
- move them together so I can prepare them for winter when the time comes
I wanted to make the inspections thorough, but quick, as the girls are usually crabby in the fall when you go digging around in there, as they’re protective of their food now. And the wasps can be a royal pain this time of year, too.
I got 3 extra boxes to haul off any empty frames, suited up, and went out and started the smoker. The smoker was being a kind of bugger, wouldn’t keep a fire going. I kept having to pump it and pump it to get it going again so the burlap would smoke. I can buy an electric smoker that has a battery (not plug in) which is absolutely guaranteed never to go out while you’re using it and supposedly has the right amount of heat to make perfect smoke. But it’s about 120 bucks and I paid $10 for my good ol’ metal smoker with the little hand pump bellows. So I’ll stick with that.
Orange Hive – Queen Håper
This hive started with 6 western boxes.
The top box has 6 frames and an empty and dry gallon feeder with wire mesh ladders.
As I went down through the hive, I set the boxes aside so I’d be able to move the hive stand over once I got to the bottom.
I was pleasantly surprised in this hive. They have a lot of honey – the top 3 boxes were pretty heavy and the 2nd box from the bottom was all new nectar. I have no idea where they’re getting this from. They had 2 frames about 1/2 full of pollen. I was able to pull out 6 empty frames and get this hive down to 5 boxes with the feeder still on top. I did see the Queen in the bottom box with some (not a lot) of capped brood. Video of Queen Håper on the move. There were a lot of bees in this hive, about 20 frames, very full.
Once I only had the bottom box, I moved the stand over halfway to the other stand and then put it all back together.
Blue Hive – Queen Siste Sjanse
This hive just had 5 western boxes. The top box also has an empty and dry feeder with ladders.
This box also actually had a lot of food in the top 3 boxes and some pollen further down. I didn’t spot the queen, but she’s wild. I did spot a frame in the 2nd box that had fresh eggs so she’s still laying some. There were also about 18 frames of bees in this box so quite a few.
When I was down to the last box, I moved this hive stand over to meet the other hive.
I was pleasantly surprised that the girls weren’t touchy at all. They were active but really quite nice – no thumping or dive bombing and no girls lined up on the bars glaring up at me (that’s always a bad sign).
I’m leaving the feeders in right now even though they have plenty of food. If the fall remains warm for quite some time and the food sources go away, they could eat up some of their food before huddling up for the winter. So I’ll go out every once in a while and give them a gallon of syrup and see if they take it in a day or two just to keep them topped off with food.
Way to go girls. I missed you but you did amazing without me.