Archive | June 2014

Double Checking The Laying Workers

I went to my aunts house today to deal with her bees, but when I got there something told me I should peak in the hive one more time before I jumped into action. I was glad that I did because I found an almost fully drawn queen cup and a few new eggs around in. I don’t know why the current queen is not laying eggs properly but if they have a queen cup then I’m going to leave them alone for a bit. I don’t know if it will end up being a successful queen rearing, so I’ll go back next week to triple check the happenings in the hive. If they’ve torn down the queen cup then I’ll combine them with the other colony so that i’ll have at least one strong colony.

I’m really frustrated that I’m not able to just make a definite decision with these bees. They’re such fluid creatures that cut and dry decisions are impossible (for me anyway) and so I never feel like I’m making the right decisions. At least in this situation I know that both colonies will be fine for another week, and if things don’t go the way I plan then I can always change them and hopefully resolve this situation. 

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Hens Aren’t The Only Laying Workers In This Chicken Run

I opened my aunts hives up (the bees I purchased this year) and found that their population was not increasing as I had hoped. I decided to risk fracturing the comb and cut it from the walls of the box to take it out and look at it. There were no eggs present except for in the drone cells. Honey stores were minimal, but there was lots of pollen. I found 2 supercedure cells, though where they think they’re getting viable eggs I don’t know. I also found an egg on the side of a cell. I’m hugely disappointed by this, but with a colony next door that’s got a functional queen I’m hoping I can combine the two hives and have one make it successfully through the winter. The laying workers certainly won’t make it on their own and the colony from last year is so behind I don’t know that it will ever get to where it needs to be come winter. Having an out apiary is really difficult, and having different hives makes it even more so.

Correcting laying workers is supposed to be impossible, but I’ve found a few sources that say that if you shake the entire colony out 100+yards away from the hives normal location, the returning workers should be mostly normal. They also say that if you don’t put the hive boxes back the bees will fly to the nearest hive and take up residence with the colony already there. I’m planning on using this technique to combine my hives and get rid of the laying workers. Success rates are low, and because the colony that has a queen is so small the chances of this working out are even less likely. But I’m going to try it because if I don’t both colonies are dead anyway.

I’m so tired of feeling like a failure of a beekeeper. It shouldn’t be this hard!

Poppy Poppy Who’s Got The Poppies

Sorry I didn’t post last week! I went to my aunts and peaked in on her bees while I was down there for an outreach event. Hers appear to be building up much slower than mine are, which I find weird given that her’s have a lot more nectar options than mine. I didn’t have time this weekend to get down to see them, but I did check on mine and found that they only had about 3 frames of “empty” space left. Those frames were being used very lightly for pollen and nectar. Pollen is extremely abundant in the hive right now, taking the normal place of honey on the frames. Mostly its grey or black, which indicates its coming from poppies. I added the second deep box of mine, which I had intended to paint green but didn’t have time to do. Since the hive is visible from certain parts of the street in front of my house, I would rather it be painted a more natural color so it doesn’t draw attention. It’s actually against the law to have it visible from the street, which I think is absolutely ridiculous. It’s an outdated law and makes it impossible to educate my community about beekeeping.

I moved the three “empty” frames , as well as a frame that was 90% pollen but had some new eggs (and the queen!) on it, up into the new deep box. Its been in the upper 70s for a week and flowers are everywhere. My garden has never had so many flowers or bees in it. At one point this year we had 5 different kinds of bumblebees alone, with countless solitary bees. Leaf cutting bees have just started to show up, which is really exciting. I’m hoping to set up a house for them soon, and I also really want to try to put up a bat house. My mom is also getting serious about putting in a rain garden. Anyway! This is strictly a beekeeping blog, so I won’t go into details about all of that. The bees are doing exceptionally well and thats what matters!