Full Hive Inspection

I opened the hives up to see how things were going, because it was in the 70s today. The weather has been crappy for weeks, but the bees have been out and about almost every day because of their lack of food. Remember how I mentioned the girls were dumping drones outside of the hive? I went up to Trunchen Hive and found a small pile of them on the ground, just under the entrance. I pulled a frame out of Trunchen Hive (with great care, as most of the frames are attached to the walls), at the far edge of the box, and found a swarm cell on its edge. These bees have zero stores, if they swarm, it’ll be a disaster. That said, capped bees should begin emerging soon, and clover is blooming, and blackberries will be popping open any day. Its just this terrible weather thats the problem. They haven’t started drawing out anything in the lower hive body though, so I don’t understand where this swarm urge is coming from.

I opened White Hive next, and despite the bees aggravated behavior I was determined to get all the way through both boxes, which I haven’t done in about a month. I went over every frame carefully, in an effort to find eggs. None were there. They’re bringing in pollen though, which is a sign that there’s a queen. All of the drones were still in White Hive too, and they’ve got a bit more honey stores than last time. They’ve started capping the honey in the super as well. If I don’t see eggs in the hive next week I’ll have to move some eggs from Trunchen Hive over, so the girls can make another queen. I blame the drones for all this trouble lol. Next year, the drone population is going to be kept in check! Cause there are toooo many and they contribute to congestion in the brood chamber. And they’re a nuisance and make finding the queen impossible. There are close to more drones than bees at this point. Oh! And the girls have started drawing out new swarm cells. I’m not sure what that means.

I was at my aunts for a dinner party coincidentally tonight, and did an ‘external’ inspection of the hive. Basically I just stood and watched the bees for a minute lol. They looked normal. I didn’t notice any pollen coming in though… I’ll have to ask my aunt to check for that when she gets a chance.

So! Trunchen Hive is low on food, but doing good enough to consider swarming. White Hive has enough food stored up that it can support almost more drones than workers, and its queen status is still undetermined. The queen status of the hive at my aunt’s is also still undetermined. Swarming is not ok!

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4 responses to “Full Hive Inspection”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    Although it sounds counter-intutitive, sometimes bad weather can hasten swarming, one of the blogs I follow has an explanation as to why: http://chrissladesbeeblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/swarmy-weather.

    Could White Hive be thinking of swarming, maybe the lack of eggs could be because the queen has been slimmed down to swarm? You mentioned that they’ve started drawing out new swarm cells.

    It won’t stop raining here, I’m so fed up of it!

    • willowbatel says :

      If these bees swarm again, I’ll never get any honey!
      Yeah, they’ve been sticking around the entrance like they were doing in the weeks leading up to the swarm. Ugh, swarming is not ok. If they don’t have eggs by next week I’ll put a frame from Trunchen Hive in it. It’ll be a pain in the butt because of the size difference and the lack of foundation, but it’ll have to be done.
      We had a nice day today, but its supposed to rain tomorrow and for the rest of the week. Enough is enough.

  2. Emma Sarah Tennant says :

    The weather has been so poor here that the National Bee Unit has issued a starvation risk for colonies in June! https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/public/News/news.cfm#127

    Our new hive had taken all the syrup we gave them last week so we gave them a full load again this week. I think we’ll feed our bees for the foreseeable future, the bees will soon let us know when they don’t want the sugar syrup anymore.

    I hope your hives settle soon, such a dramatic year for beekeeping 🙂

    • willowbatel says :

      Yikes! Isn’t this the second warning they’ve issued this year about starvation?
      I stuck it out and didn’t feed the bees, and they’re doing just fine. There was (what I call) an “emergence” a few days ago from Trunchen Hive. I suppose I should really call it a rotation, but basically what I refer to as an emergence is when a frame of bees emerge from their cells all at once, so the bees that were house bees are forced out of the hive for their orientation flights. I took a few pictures I’ve been meaning to post, because both of the colonies were active then and there were lots of bees in the air.

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