May 17 2015
So I started to inspect the bees yesterday afternoon, about 3pm. It was sunny, blue sky, about 72 degrees. I moved out 2 empty boxes for sorting frames; three western boxes with 8 frames in case the bees needed more room; got suited up, got all my equipment out and smoked the blue hive for starters.
The blue hive had and ended with 5 boxes.
There were 8 frames of capped brood, very nicely filled, 7 frames of uncapped brood with tiny larvae and fresh eggs, 3 frames of pollen, lots of bees and I saw Queen Håper. Here’s a video of the golden italian queen they rolled on their own.
However, there was 1 frame of nectar and 2 boxes on top of empty frames, all eaten out. Hmmmm. That means they’re not bringing in nectar. So are we in a nectar dearth or are they just not pulling it in? I don’t want to start feeding them. I read that if there is no nectar and you don’t feed them, the queen will regulate herself and just stop laying up until there’s food enough to support the hive.
I managed the open brood and queen down to the bottom, then the capped brood on top of that.
If I feed them, I’ll boost them and get the hive going for faster honey production. But I could end up feeding them for weeks and I want them to do this on their own.
So I’m thinking about this and………..whoooow. A sharp wind just zooms across the yard, the sky gets black in about 30 seconds, trees start snapping and all of a sudden – flash and CRACK!!! Lightning and thunder. Well, this isn’t good at all. I’m standing out in a space surrounded by metal wire fencing in between beehives with metal roofs. Then is starts to patter rain.
So quick like a bunny, pop the whole hive back in place, put the lid on and by the time I’m grabbing boxes and equipment, it’s starting to pour rain out.
End of inspection – and cut.
OK, that was Saturday (yesterday). So today, once again it’s sunny and bright out about 2pm so I decide I might was well get it going with the other two hives.
Again with all the boxes and frames and equipment and suiting up and smoker.
The orange hive started out and ended with 5 boxes.
There were 8 frames of capped brood, 4 frames of uncapped brood with tiny larvae and fresh eggs. There were 15 frames of nectar, 2 frames of pollen and lots of bees. I did not see the queen, but I saw fresh eggs.
Sooooo, I took 5 frames of nectar, brushed off the not-so-happy bees, and plunked them in the top box of the blue hive, swapping for empty frames. Now the blue hive has 5 frames of nectar and the orange hive still has 10 frames of nectar.
I managed the open brood down to the bottom with the capped brood on top of that.
This is the new hive and it started out and ended with 4 boxes.
There were 3 frames of capped brood, 4 frames of uncapped brood, 3 frames of nectar, 2 frames of pollen, a good healthy amount of bees and I saw Queen Freyja. Here’s a video of her doddling around.
Again, I managed the open and capped brood to the bottom two boxes, put an empty between the 2nd and top box that has the nectar so they have room to expand.
The bees were all friendly (except when I was brushing them off their honey and stealing it – just a little “buzzy”), hard working, gentle and busy working away. They were flying about all over the garden and zipping in and out of the hives.
So here are some interesting pictures. It’s hard to describe to you the absolute gargantuousness of this mother-of-all-bumblebees I saw on my chives. I kid you not, I very briefly put my thumb near the thing and it was as big as 2/3 of my thumb. I first thought it was a hummingbird and you could hear it BUZZZZING from yards away.
So I’ve got a picture of one of my delicate little girls on a chive. Then a picture of this Jabba The Bumblebee tub of lard on the same chive. Then here is a video of it galumphing around on the chives.