1 Sucesseful Nuc And 2 Undecideds
I checked in on the bees today to make sure everything was in order. I’ve been holding off on this check up because I’ve been asked to remove a colony of bees from a friends tree and I’ll need eggs from one of the hives I have to do it. More on that in a minute.
Green Hive is doing well but there was something off about the hive today and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it while I was working. There wasn’t very much honey in the hive, egg production has slowed although there were 3 solid frame size of capped brood and 4 frames that were about 75% capped. I think the adult population was just lower than I expected; which makes sense since all of the field bees are in White Hive. I didn’t see the queen in Green Hive but I did find a patch of new eggs. Pollen stores were also low, and it looks like the hive was short on cleaners as well. Because I need a couple of empty deep boxes for the bee removal I’ll be doing tomorrow, I moved frames around and made sure any empty frames were in the top box of the hive so I can go and grab them easily tomorrow. I put a bee escape in between the empty box and the boxes with bees in them.
Moving on to the nuc next to Green Hive I was thrillled to not only find a half frame of eggs but to also see the new queen! She’s full sized and almost completely honey colored. This nuc was full of pollen and was also working on capping honey. I will probably need to swap in some empty frames for them to expand on before too long.
The second nuc was less exciting, as no eggs or new queen were present. All of the queen cells in the hive had either been vacated or partially destroyed near their base. Varroa mites were abundant but I don’t think I can treat the colony while there’s not a queen. Honey and pollen stores were also reduced, and weirdly enough almost all of the bees in this colony had their heads stuffed in a honey cell. They were agitated but I couldn’t tell if they were being robbed or what was going on. Activity levels outside the hive weren’t above average, and actually all of the hives has had a noticeable devline activity over the last week. We haven’t had rain in ages so I’m sure nectar collection is down.
White Hive had not filled in the empty frames of their second deep like I had expected them to. The shallow super is steadily being filled with honey, but the second deep was almost completely ignored, except for a couple of full frames I put in this box as bait. I swapped the bait frames out with empty frames from the first deep and shook out as many bees from the empty deep as I could. I put this empty deep on top of the other empty one on Green Hive, planning to use this second empty deep while extracting the bees from the tree when it was needed. The bottom deep did not yield eggs or a queen, though all queen cells were empty in a similar manner to the other nuc. There were honey and pollen stores in this hive, and a half frame of white wax the bees had made on an empty frame.
I’ll check back in on the brood chambers of the hives in another week, but I’ll remove the two empty deeps from Green Hive tomorrow before I go to the tree.
And now for the colony removal! A friend of my mom’s has a colony that’s taken up residence in a tree very near, and facing, her house. I’m planing on using the trap out method to remove this colony, and will begin setup tomorrow. Since this is something I’ve never done before I’ll be posting much more frequently and posting lots of pictures to document the process. If anyone has done this before let me know! The idea is that you close off all but one entrance and then put a funnel there so only two bees can leave at a time, but can’t get back in. Then you put an empty hive body next to the entrance so the returning bees have a new place to take up residence. We’ll see how it goes!