Not Much To Report

A break in the heat, with enough light to see by, presented its self today. It’s supposed to get up to 85 today, but for now its overcast and only 66 degrees.

I opened White Hive and was surprised to see the queen on the only frame that the bees are starting to draw out in the super. The 6 frames on the edges of the super are almost fully capped (some cells have been extended to continue filling them) and three of the 4 empty frames are virtually untouched, despite being covered in bees. To ensure I didn’t loose the queen I smoked most of the bees down out of the super. I found the queen on a frame of emerging brood. The top brood box has at least 2 frames with 70% of them being capped honey. I only made it four or five frames in because the bees were extremely unhappy with me. They would appear calm and then suddenly a large group of them would launch themselves at my glove or my helmet. Even with a mesh screen around your face, having a dozen or so bees throw themselves at you isn’t fun. There was almost a constant *smack* on my helmet from bees slamming themselves against it. My gloves were stung a few times too.

I’m still not sure what I want to name this queen. White Hive has become very organized with her at its head. A large number of girls come out every evening to clean (washboard) the ‘front porch’ and the face of the hive. I might even have a picture of that for you!

It’s not the best quality, as my phone’s zoom is not the best, but my camera has ceased to work so this is the best I can do at the moment. Anyway, I like this shot because it shows the difference in apparent activity with the two hives. Trunchen Hive occasionally has a small group of girls outside to fan air in, but they never washboard. To almost be completely opposite, White Hive only ever has a few girls fanning air in, while the majority washboards.

This queen also makes golden-brown drones, and is a light golden brown herself. She has, what I call, a “mole” on her right side which I find to be a rather original characteristic. Her main color is a golden color, but she has a small brown smudge in the middle of her abdomen, just to the right, well before the rest of her abdomen tapers off in both size and darkness of color. And there’s also this “organized” defense of the hive to consider… I’m not sure, but I’ll definitely think of something. Suggestions would be fun!

I peeked (with effort) into Trunchen Hive. The bees have glued the cloth on the top box down so successfully that after I managed to pull it up some of the fibers from it stayed attached to the box. I wasn’t going to bother trying to get into the hive after this, especially since I knew the other two boxes were full and could see all I really needed to. The last two bars on the left side of the top box (when looking at the hive from the front) weren’t completely drawn out, but I suspect that they’ll fill in before the end of the year. I’m still rather concerned on how I’m supposed to get the bees to condense themselves into just two boxes… There was a large patch of capped brood visible in the top box, so I can’t just take it off at the end of the year. Warre’s book says absolutely nothing on HOW you’re supposed to condense the bees, only that you have to. *sigh*

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10 responses to “Not Much To Report”

  1. Emma Sarah Tennant says :

    She sounds like a she-wolf, your new queen, and hives with feisty, organised queens seem to thrive. You could name her after a famous queen from history like Cleopatra, Catherine the Great or Elizabeth I! Interesting genetic variation with the ‘beauty spot’ on her abdomen. I wonder how many queens get those markings?

    • willowbatel says :

      Hahaha, ‘she-wolf’ will definitely become part of her official title now.
      I have a cousin names Catherine, so that wouldn’t be quite right to have a queen named the same, haha.
      I like cleopatra, but it almost sounds too regal and important. And rather gaudy for a little backyard queen. Perhaps a bit of research into wolf related mythology is in order…
      I’m actually kind of excited by her little ‘birth mark’ because it means I won’t have to bother with marking her myself and will know if she has been superseded.

  2. Emily Heath says :

    I wonder why Warre’s book says to condense the bees. If you have three boxes full of drawn out comb and stores that should act as good insulation. Rusty at Honey Bee Suite has written a post about overwintering on three boxes: http://www.honeybeesuite.com/triple-deep-hives-in-mid-summer/.

    • willowbatel says :

      I think it has to do with the fact that Warre’s boxes are smaller all the way around than Langstroth’s, so, while the bees have to work less to heat the hive with two boxes, adding a third box would require them to work harder. I’ve got two Warre’s though, and one of them is still only two boxes. So maybe I’ll just overwinter them both as is and see what happens. If things don’t work out then I’ll have at least one complete hive ready for accepting a split when that needs to happen.
      I’m amazed the bees are able to fill 3 full deeps. I’m not sure if it’s just because I only have one super and there isn’t room to store incoming nectar, but my bees only ever use the top deep box, leaving the bottom for pollen and incoming nectar. I need to invest in another couple of supers though, because the bees would happily fill them up if they had them.

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