Thursday, July 2, 2015

Late For Expansion

Less Bees following the split

Stuffed Beehive

Things aren't always as they seem, especially as related to a beehive and new bee hobbyist eyes.  Following the split, there is much less external activities at the entrance.  This is true.

In our last post we assumed that a lot of comb dropped.  We didn't get a look inside to verify the truth of this theory because we pretty much bungled our last thorough inspection and felt the wrath of a probably queenless hive for a month.

Based on timing and activities, we're pretty sure we either maimed or killed the queen bee when we aggressively inspected the hive and accidentally broke some comb.  We had to be careful outside for a while.  Just about every time we went outside, Mr. Man was stung and we couldn't get near the hive until a new queen was created (we believe).

Dropped comb on far right
After the split and a few weeks of calm "beehavior", I finally ventured to open the window of the hive
to see how bad the comb drop was.  The discovery is there doesn't appear to be much comb drop.  It looks more like they're stuffing the hive to maximum capacity with comb and it crossed and tweaked at the right side.

Under view of beehive
The bottom of the hive shows the comb is getting built straight to the bottom of the hive where we put mesh for ventilation.  Perhaps the bees will cover it with propolis to prevent the ants from getting in this way.

It looks like the building to the very bottom of the hive is creeping towards the front of the hive.

We're planning to build a queen excluder and replace the partition on the right of the hive.  This will allow the queen free reign of the front portion, workers and honey making on the right side of the hive.  This will be close to a 50/50 split of the hive.  This will eliminate the potential of maiming or killing the queen in future hive inspections and eliminate baby bees being in the honey when we collect it (next year).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Split Happens

Hive split, swarm in tree

Split Happens

We experienced a couple of splits.  A large portion of the bees left the hive and swarmed on June 16.  We tried to entice them into the new hive.  The swarm was very high up in major tree branches this time and we weren't prepared to gather them up in this type of situation.

Sadly, the swarm disappeared and our new hive remains empty.  Maybe next year.

Honey dripping from the hive

Comb Split Or Drop

While watering the garden this morning, I noticed honey leaking from the bottom of the old hive.  Upon seeing that, I grabbed the camera to get a photo of the underside to quickly get a detailed look at the underside of the hive without disturbing the bees too much.

Comb separated from the top bars
It looks like a good portion of the comb dropped off of the top bars, squishing a few of the worker bees.

Looking at other beekeeper blogs, it is something that happens to all bee hives at one time or another.  It is important to get rid of the fallen comb to prevent cross comb and wild building of comb, then let the bees clean up the remaining honey.  

What is interesting is the first set of bars - the ones towards the front of the hive look fine.  The last set of bars, probably where the majority of honey is stored, is where several combs may have dropped.  We have to get in there to take a good look though.