Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DHS and swarm prevention

In this hive I didn't see any swarm cell, but it was busting at the seams.  I checker boarded the brood chamber that completely filled the deep.  I pulled 3 frames and put in empty frames, the 3 that I pulled I put together in the middle of the extra deep and put in empty frames around it.  The medium that was on top was full of nectar and pollen so I just replaced it and hope that the 10 empty deep frames will keep the nurse bees busy and the queen more space to lay.  I'm hoping that when I get back from my trip in 12 days that the medium will be capped and the tulip popular should be in flow so I will need to pull anything that is capped and add another medium.

Where the spacer was for the mite treatment the had built a lot of burr comb and had started putting nectar and eggs in it.  It was a shame to have to scrape it out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Too late to just open brood nest

Today the weather finally got warm enough for me to do the work what was so needed.

Ideally you want to prevent swarming and not have to split. But if there are queen cells I usually put every frame with any queen cells in it's own nuc with a frame of honey and let them rear a queen. This usually relieves the pressure to swarm and gives me very nice queens.~Michael Bush, see last post.

When I went into the hive today I found several queen cells so I made two splits with the cells.  One hive has the medium frames w/ the queen cells and the other one has all the queen cells on deep frames.  I also moved the original hive down and put the splits original hive was.  This should catch the returning field bees to the splits.

I'm hoping this will keep the original hive from swarming.  We'll see.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What to do?

So after re-reading on swarms and splits I have decided to go with Michael Bush's advise on swarm prevention~
Swarm control split. Ideally you want to prevent swarming and not have to split. But if there are queen cells I usually put every frame with any queen cells in it's own nuc with a frame of honey and let them rear a queen. This usually relieves the pressure to swarm and gives me very nice queens. But even better, put the old queen in a nuc with a frame of brood and a frame of honey and leave one frame with queen cells at the old hive to simulate a swarm. Many bees are now gone and so is the old queen. Some people do the other kinds of splits (even walk away etc.) in order to prevent swarming. I think it's better to just keep the brood nest open.

Opening the brood nest
This, of course is what we want to do. What we need to do is interrupt the chain of events. The easiest way is to keep the brood nest open. If you keep the brood nest from backfilling and if you occupy all those unemployed nurse bees then you can change their mind. If you catch it before they start queen cells, you can put some empty frames in the brood nest. Yes, empty. No foundation. Nothing. Just an empty frame. Just one here and there with two frames of brood between. In other words, you can do something like: BBEBBEBBEB where B is brood comb and E is an empty frame. How many you insert depends on how strong the cluster is. They have to fill all those gaps with bees. The gaps fill with the unemployed nurse bees who begin festooning and building comb. The queen will find the new comb and about the time they get about ¼" deep, the queen will lay in them. You have now "opened up the brood nest". In one step you have occupied the bees that were preparing to swarm with wax production followed by nursing, you've expanded the brood nest, and you've given the queen a place to lay. If you don't have room to put the empty combs in, then add another brood box. The other upside is I get good natural sized brood comb.
A hive that doesn't swarm will produce a LOT more honey than a hive that swarms.

After the flow, I will make a split since I like these bees so much and would like to have another colony from them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The bees are over flowing

I had a look inside of Demeter to see where it was at with space and it really had none.  Two deeps and a medium full of brood and stores.  Lots of drone cells as well.  I hope they aren't going to swarm and I should have done a split, but I have only read about doing them and was nervous about making sure the queen was in the right hive.  They are building queen cells so I'm going to consult Curtis Gentry about the best splitting methods.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

DHS bee club

Three brave young men make up my bee class at DHS.  Last week they started putting all of their wooden ware together for their bees.  They have all of the bodies, the inner cover, outer cover and bottom board put together and now are working on their frames.  They will be getting a 5 frame NUC from Dixie bee supply.  Hopefully we will be installing them on April 13th or 20th.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Demeter today

I looked inside my hive at home today for the first time since winter.  It has 2 deeps and a medium.  The medium on top was full of honey!  The top deep had lots of brood and some stores, the bottom deep was all older caped brood and pollen stores.  I pulled 5 of the medium frames and replaced them with new frames with foundation or drawn comb.  I also had a deep that was attached to the next frame and the side of the hive.  It was mostly honey, but it did have some brood as well.  I replaced those two frames as well.  I need to give them some growing room and work to do so they don't swarm.  I hope those empty frames will keep them busy.

John some hive stands as well so I put one of those in and plan on getting the rest in this week for the new packages I'm expecting.

The 24 hour mite count was low so this hive is good till Aug or so. : )

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Could it bee spring?

Today I did my first inspection of the DHS hive.  This hive consists of a deep on bottom and two mediums.  I had done a mite could last week and decided that I was at threshold.  Not sure how many was there for a 3 day count but more then the 150 or less I was hoping for.

The top medium has lots of capped stores, and a small amount of drone brood.  The second deep was mostly full of egg, larvea and capped and stores.  The deep had capped brood and some stores.  I should have reverse the 2nd medium with the deep to give her some more room to lay.  If I don't do some management to open up the brood nest and add a super by the end of the month I think they could swarm.

Because of the mites I did a formic acid treatment from Mite Awayll.  I hate that I had to treat at all.  I'm not a user of chemicals, organic or not, but if I didn't treat I would have lost this hive by fall I believe.  The treatment was easy to do.  Here is a video on how to do it.

Lots of pretty pollen coming in.  The deep red is from Henbit.

I also noticed that he water station was being well used.  

After the inspection at the DHS I went to Oakhurst garden to do a inspection with Curtis Gentry.  Two weeks ago when I was at the inspection there one hive was really struggling and Curtis suggested that we switch it with another hive that was doing well.  The purpose of this is to instantly boost the adult working force of the weak hive.  The bees that were out foraging will come back to their normal location, but go into the weaker hive that was put in their original location.  The stronger hive will  receive the small amount of workers from the weak hive. It seems to have worked.  The weaker hive was doing much better.