Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bittersweet day in the beeyard

Today is somewhat of a sad day for me. I noticed lots of queen cells during my inspection last weekend, including one that was capped. I put that capped cell and three other frames into a nucbox to start a new hive and possibly prevent a swarm. Unfortunately, that course of action was unable to prevent a swarm. I arrived home from work today and my omniscient assistant beekeeper immediately noticed that there were only a few bees bearding the landing board, which is unusual. Since my hive is on a scale, I checked the weight and I noticed that it decreased 9 pounds from last night. That is a sure sign of a swarm. The above pic is the last picture that was taken of my queen, which was taken during Saturday's inspection before I pulled the nuc off of the main hive.

So, the good news is that I now have two hives since I did a split last weekend, but the bad news is that the main hive swarmed. I was unable to find the swarm anywhere.

Where ever you are queen, good luck and thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Swarm in the works?

My hive is doing so well that I am a little bit afraid that my bees might try and swarm on me. Last weekend, when I inspected my hive, I convinced myself that the cells in this picture were just drone cells. However, looking back it appears that these are the beginnings of swarm cells. I am going to have to keep my eye on these, and possibly pull a nuc off this hive in an attempt to prevent a swarm. The benefit of that is that I will get a second hive, but the downside is that my honey production will not be as great as it otherwise would have been.

Another downside is that I will owe my wife $20. She claims that she can read animal behavior very well, and before I even inspected the hive she bet me $20 that the bees were planning on swarming. I agreed to take the bet. She told me that she can read animal behavior so well, she could see that our cat wanted in on the action for $1. So now it looks I am out $21. Rats.

The benefit of letting your bees raise their own queen is that it causes a break in the brood cycle, which does not hurt the bees so much but it does hurt the varroa mites which reproduce in capped cells.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Time to super up

The nectar flow must be starting in my area. I put my hive on a scale last week, and with the cold weather it has been steadily losing about half a pound or so in weight each day. Today, however, the weather was quite nice and my hive gained four pounds. On my way home, I noticed there are quite a few dandelions beginning to bloom. This all suggests that the nectar flow is here and it must be time to put on the honey supers!