Friday, June 17, 2011

Inspection at Harvey's Hives

A happy beekeeper.
After our bee tree adventure, we went to the bee yard at Harley's to do a full inspection. While it's tempting to give you the blow-by-blow, I'll generalize and then show you some pictures, because we saw some pretty cool stuff.

The summary: we found evidence of queens in all of the hives, saw supercedure cells in one of the hives started from a nuc (which was very interesting, as we couldn't see a reason why they wanted to replace their queen), and found very little honey stored and little foraging happening, meaning there's a dearth of nectar. The bees were not occupying the space provided in the supers Mark had added.

The decisions: make a split from the hive with all of the supercedure cells, remove unoccupied supers from 3 of the hives, and move the four smaller colonies to the Delta, where there's plenty blooming.

The photos:

A mosaic of pollen stores.

I love the variety in the colors of pollen packed into the comb!

This is an ideal frame: honey around the edges, a solid brood pattern, uncapped larvae around the edges, and eggs.
Uncapped honey -- see it glistening?

Do you see the queen?

Don't waste a drop!
When we took off the top hive body, we tore open some brace comb the bees had built. Immediately the workers gathered around the exposed honey, drinking it in so it wouldn't go to waste. They'll relocate it to open cells in other frames, I hope.

The next morning before daylight, Mark returned, screened the entrances, made the split, and drove the bees to the Delta.  Once they were unloaded, he added the supers back so they'd have space to grow. We hope they thrive there.

Mark had already done the prep work.  Can you tell the man is OCD, with everything cleared just so?!

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