Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hive Expansion

Slat Adds 8 and 9


Today we provided two more slats for the bees to work with.  Following inspection and expansion, we decided we probably won't mess with the hive for two weeks to give more time for larger comb building and to give the bees a bit of peace.

Slat 3


Top Bar Slat 3 March 22, 2015

Top Bar Slat 3, March 29, 2015
We have pictures of slat three from one week ago and this week.  The queen continues to be busy, but we still can't seem to find her among all the other bees.  We did find what we think is a drone though.

It looks like the cells were freshly capped last week when we first got a look at the bees work.  The comb was pretty full, but still had some uncapped cells filled with larvae and the size was slightly smaller than this week.

When we got a look at slat 3 this week, the cell caps look dehydrated and darker.  Less of the cells are open and new brood is in some of the open cells.

Bees are very busy even as we're inspecting, doing something while dipping almost half way into the cells here and there.

Drones

It is probably a good sign that we haven't seen many drones in the hive, because they are high maintenance and are only around to service a virgin queen.
Drone Bee Found On Slat 3

We have no large cells or bulges in the hive either.  Large numbers of drones and queen cells are an indication that the old queen is not doing well and a new queen will be taking over.  I guess that's not happening here for a bit longer.

New Comb

New Comb On Slat 6 After 7 Days
In just 7 days, we have two good sized new combs.  Since they aren't completely full or built out, we're going to let the bees do their thing for two weeks this time and then expand the hive again (although peeping through the observation window still).

We've been toying with the idea of putting in an excluder partition slat to keep the queen towards the front of the hive and the honey/wax production towards the back of the hive.  Our main purpose is the health of the hive over honey/wax production so we aren't in
New Comb On slat 7 After 7 Days
any hurry to make decisions on this right now.  It may be difficult to find an excluder for our top bar hive.

That wraps up the hive status for our little bee farm.  If anyone has any tips for keeping bees in Zone 9/10, we'd love to hear them.