Window Boxes Installed

After several weeks of leaving the bees to their own, I finally got the two new hive boxes ready. It took several hours today and yesterday to install the wiring on the frames, and I was lazy this time around and only did two lines of wire instead of 4. Both hives are doing well, but the smaller hive, the captured swarm, has varroa mites. I saw one riding on the back of a freshly emerged bee as soon as i opened the hive up. They have expanded their brood nest up into the shallow super, so i’m kind of sad I don’t have a second queen excluder to use on this hive. Overall they’re going steady but they haven’t got nearly enough honey stored away for winter. I added a second deep box on, the one I built with the window on the back, just to give them room to play. I think I will move all of the excess honey from the large colony over into a second deep box for the captured swarm.

The large colony has 4 frames of honey that is days away from being fully capped. Wax is everywhere, honey everywhere, and bees everywhere. I nearly fell over trying to lift the honey super off. This hive also got another deep box, but this one is acting as a second honey super instead of another brood body. I checkerboarded new frames with the full ones of the first honey super, so now both boxes are about 1/4 full. The brood boxes are both extremely full of bees, but very little brood was present in the first hive body so I decided to switch the two brood boxes around to encourage the bees to fill it in. There were a couple of fully drawn empty frames so that will definitely reduce swarming urges. Both colonies had swarm cells present but neither had eggs in either of them.

The boxes I made are much too small. They fit all of the frames just fine, but the box doesn’t sit flush on the one below it. And the telescoping cover also rests on the hinges so it doesn’t close properly. These boxes weren’t meant to house the bees over winter in anyway, but now they definitely can’t. Since I plan on moving all of the frames around in the boxes anyway at the end of the season it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to get the boxes out of rotation.

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8 responses to “Window Boxes Installed”

  1. Emily Scott says :

    “I nearly fell over trying to lift the honey super off” – I know the feeling! Honey is damn heavy.

    • willowbatel says :

      I’m hoping all that honey is still there! I haven’t checked them in a while so I should really get on that. I’ll have time tomorrow so maybe I’ll come home and do that.

  2. Emma Sarah Tennant says :

    Sounds like you’re muddling through just brilliantly. I’m really impressed at building your own hive boxes, I can just about manage frames.

    • willowbatel says :

      Hive boxes are actually super easy. Frames sound really difficult because of all the parts involved. And I can never get the internal dimensions right. The side bars are always too far from the walls of the box, so the bees end up building wax between them.
      I also feel bad because I promised myself I would properly treat the bees for varroa mites this year and I didn’t do that. And now I think its too late, right?

      • Emma Sarah Tennant says :

        It might not be too late depending on your local area. We use Apiguard trays which take four weeks. You put in one tray per hive for two weeks and repeat. If you think there’s time to do this before the hives are ‘closed’ for the cold winter months, then it’s worth a try. You’re not really supposed to feed sugar syrup during Apiguard so you’ll need to weigh up whether you need to feed up the hives for overwintering too. This could be done after Apiguard if it’s likely to warm and mild in mid to late autumn.

        • willowbatel says :

          Oh I might have time then! I just reduced both of my hives down for winter but it hasn’t gotten too cold yet, and September and October are known for weird temperature swings. We’ve had days up in the high 70’s and some in the low 60s. The bees have been out every day still though. Isn’t there a temp requirement for Apiguard?

      • Emma Sarah Tennant says :

        Of course if you miss the window for autumn thymol treatments then there’s always oxalic acid in midwinter which you can choose to do.

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