Swarm Cells And Honey
I opened my hives today and both are doing well. The swarm colony is fine, but they aren’t filling in the empty spaces as quickly as I would like them to. I moved a frame of 3-4 day old eggs over again to help boost their numbers. They have a full frame of ripening honey and lots of pollen, bringing their occupied space up to 6.5 frames. I’m debating whether I should put a shallow super on them or if I should just move the entire deep super over from the large hive. It would even both colonies out and give the swarm room to grow, while forcing the strong colony to fully draw out all of their frames.
The large colony is doing well, but they’re not filling in the new frames as quickly as I would like. They have wax on all the new frames in the brood boxes, but a fair amount of it was drone cells that needed to be cut out. The honey super is filling up quickly with honey, and surprisingly pollen as well. A few of those frames have been partially drawn out, and I moved one of those down to replace the empty slot left by the frame of brood I moved over into the swarm hive. The large colony is preparing to swarm, and had 8 or 9 swarm cells being drawn out throughout the colony. They were all brown and worn looking, but one of them did have a 2 day old larvae in it that I squashed. I’m not too sure what to do about it given how much room they have for expansion. The problem is that they aren’t drawing out the new frames quickly enough and the queen is running out of places to lay eggs because the workers are stuffing everything full of pollen and honey.
That frame of drone brood was full and capped again, so instead of freezing it I just took all the caps off and moved it up into the super. The bees will fill it in quickly with honey and the soft bodies of the developing drones won’t get stuck in the queen excluder if they try and drag any of them out.
Even though this large colony hasn’t completely filled in any of the new frames yet, none of the frames in the brood boxes were left untouched. They’re drawing out wax on all of them, with two triangle shaped pieces coming downward on either side. On the ground underneath the hive you can see hundreds of white wax pellets that fell off while wax was being made.
There are dozens of dark blue/black drones in this hive, and they’re definitely part of the swarming problem. I removed any drone brood I found, and I think with that full frame out of rotation things should be much calmer. I’ll be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don’t swarm. If the blackberry flow continues they should easily be able to fill in the new frames. I’m very seriously considering that split though… Moving the top brood box from the strong hive onto the swarm colony would give that colony a huge boost, and it would reduce the population of the strong colony by almost a third. The top box of the strong colony is mostly empty, with 3 or 4 frames full of honey. Even just switching the hives locations would make a difference…
I’ll think about it and get back to you! Right now I’m running late for work.