Sep 17 2017

I’m shockified

So I got back after being gone for a week and knew I needed to look at the hives to see how they’re doing. Honestly, I figured after 3 weeks of smoke, 2 hives trying to make a queen with nothing at all showing for their work a couple of weeks ago, and the record breaking days without rain (hence – little nectar), and treating the orange hive for mites, I’d be lucky to have enough remnants to combine them all together for the winter.

Ends up, I was shockified. Basically, except for the fact I’m nervous about their winter food stores (I’m always nervous about their winter food stores), they managed to do pretty well on their own. Here are the results.

Since it was overcast and 67 degrees, on the cool side with just a tiny breeze, I decided to go out at about 1:30pm and inspect the hives. I was able to get through all three hives.

Orange Hive – Queen Dagmar

There are 5 boxes on this hive. I smoked the hive and lifted out the top two boxes. These are fairly heavy with honey, I’d say over half, but not staggeringly heavy. Clearly, they’ve been eating their stores.

All in all, there were about 14 frames of food, along with plenty of pollen. There were 5 frames of brood, some capped and some uncapped. There were about 7 full frames of bees. I did sight Queen Dagmar right in the middle of the top of the 3rd box, just under the honey stores. Here is a video of Queen Dagmar. Just as I looked, she had pulled her backside out of a cell and had laid an egg. If you look at the end of her body, you can see her ovipositor sticking out of her bum as she scuttles around trying to find another good cell to lay in.

I carefully left her in her box, surrounded her with the brood frames and pollen on the two sides and set her aside. On top of the first box were the dried up and stuck Mite Away strips I’d left there. There were gobs of tiny dead red mites all over the strips. I peeled them off and put them in the garbage and found 2 frames of fresh brood underneath them. I moved these next to the queen and carefully moved her and her box down to the bottom position and placed the boxes that were light on top of that, then the two honey boxes.

Yellow Hive

This hive has 5 boxes, and the top two had a good amount of food, again not chock full. Throughout the hive, there were 11 frames of food and 3 of pollen. ┬áThere were 7 frames of bees. there were 3 frames just covered in capped brood and 2 frames with open brood, both small and eggs. ┬áSo clearly there is a home-made queen in here somewhere. I looked through the frames again and couldn’t find her after the second look. So we’ll call her Queen Sleipe, which means “sneaky”.

I moved all the brood carefully to the bottom box, empty/lights on top of that and then the two honey boxes.

Blue Hive

This hive has 5 boxes and the top two again had a good amount of food, but not full. There were 13 frames of food in the hive. There were 11 frames of bees. There were 7 frames of both capped and uncapped brood and I sighted the new home-made queen in the middle of the 3rd box just under the honey frames. She is clearly an Italian (bummer) as you can see in this video of her. But she’s been laying up, good for her. Again, I very carefully moved her and her box to the bottom, surrounded by her brood, with 2 light boxes on top and then the two honey boxes.

She’ll be Queen Hjemmelaget, which means “homemade”.

 

So a pleasant surprise – 3 queens, two of them homemade, doing pretty well. I’m not happy with the amount of honey in the hives, especially as the queens are now laying up for winter and we need a lot of honey for the babies hatching out. So unless some miracle occurs and we get a lot of rain and blossoms in the next 2 weeks, I’ll check how heavy their food is in 2 weeks and I may pop some heavy (2:1) sugar water on just to supplement them in October.

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