More Notes from Beekeeping
by Jimmy Earl Cooley
July 31, 2012
Been sick …so bees have been on their own for a few days.
Gave a gallon of sugar water today and they seemed delighted. Looked at frames in top super and found that 6 of the 10 are full of capped honey so guess I will get some honey for myself this year.
When should I remove capped frames and harvest the honey – what is the sign to tell me it’s ready to harvest???
Since I don’t have a centrifuge to separate honey from frame, how should I do this?
Have not looked into the bottom brood or second brood box in quite a while – should I examine now or soon??
Just sitting – completely assembled and awaiting a bunch of bees. When I take the honey from the Hebert top med super – thought that would be a good time to split Hebert Hive and start Hanchey Hive with bees and queen from Hebert Hive.
I was thinking (which usually ends up with a problem for me) that I would take three or four frames from the Hebert brood box and put into the Hanchey box – making sure there are brood, food, and drones on the frames along with the queen. Then replace with empty frames in Hebert box and find a queen cell and put in Hebert box.
Then move Hanchey Hive some distance away (how far?) so bees will not go back to Hebert hive. Is it alright to do that now or soon or wait till spring? Is my plan sound or not? I like the bees I have in the Hebert Hive so would like to keep the second hive (Hanchey) in the family.
Please let me know your comments or experiences on this plan.
August 26, 2012
INSPECT HEBERT HIVE
Sunny Sunday following rain on Friday and Saturday.
Hebert Hive Layout
Large Bottom Box (Brood)
Smoked hive and removed top cover, inner cover came off with top cover and was thoroughly glued to inside of top cover with propalis. Noticed one hive beetle on top of frames of upper medium super at this time, tried to kill him with tool but he ran into super between frames. Noted a number of bees on inside of inner cover and inside of top but did not inspect thoroughly at this time. Started removing the frames from the upper medium super from outside in and noted nothing on the two outside or two outside frames i.e.: frames 1 and 2 and 9 and 10. But the 6 inside frames contained capped honey on both sides except one which had honey on one side and bees working there. I’m assuming I can harvest some of these frames of honey for my use? Yes or should I leave it for them to eat over winter. Then removed the complete upper medium super to expose the large super that is above the lower brood box. Looking for more hive beetles but saw none so the one that escaped from top must be hiding or in lower brood box. Started removing the frames from the large super (the one below the medium super and the above the brood box) from outside in and again noted that frames 1 and 2 and 9 and 10 were empty with on activity, but 3 through 8 were completely covered with bees and honey capped and uncapped, but no brood but did notice what appears to be drone cells in a cluster on one frame – see photo. So appears to me that bees are saving honey in large super (above the brood box) and the medium super above the large super and all brood and raising activity is going on in lower brood box??? Since there is no queen extruder between the brood box and the large super, I would have thought that the queen would have gone up into the large super, above the brood box, and started laying eggs. Does this mean she is not finished with the lower brood box? I have been feeding the hive with sugar water (approx. 1 qt. per day) from an outside feeder sitting on the top cover of the hive. I had two different designs of inside feeders but discarded when I noted bees drowning in them, not good. The outside feeder is a small metal chicken feeder with quart bottle turned upside down with small holes in lid of bottle. Placed small pieces of wood dowel inside bowl of feeder for bees to rest on and reach dripping sugar water. This seems to work fine and none drowned even with the large amount of rain we had on Friday and Saturday. I did not completely remove the large super, so therefore did not remove any of the frames from the brood box to see the status of it. From above it appears that all frames are filled and full of activity. Should I go ahead and remove the large super and pull the frames in the brood and inspect at least for hive beetles? Guess there could be an infestation in this box? So at this point did not see any hive beetles, other than the original one. Another reason I did not remove the large super is that it was heavy?? I had been told how heavy these get and now believe and all the frames are not filled. I’m suffering from the residuals of a sciatic nerve episode leading from spine, down outside of right thigh, down outside of right calf, down to right big toe so afraid to lift too much and aggravate again! So I carefully replaced all framed in original position and at this time separated the inner cover from the top when I noted at least 20-25 hive beetles at various locations with bees also between the inner cover and the top. I separated the inner cover and top and was able to kill most of beetles but noticed that many had took cover in the corners of the top, so I chased them out and killed with hive tool. I guess this is their defense way to get away from bees, retreating to inside corner. Question: Having seen this many beetles (mostly on inside of top and inner cover) should I assume that there are more in brood and on larva and start some treatment? I’m sure that in my haste to kill some of them with the tool, some more probably dropped on ground for sure. I have ordered and received some chemical to treat the ground around the hive and some pads to put inside the hive, forgot the names of the products now, but will unpack and tell you soon and look at directions. I was hoping not to use chemicals on hive but may have to now that I see some in hive. Can the bees take care of this number, assuming that there are probably more in the hive given that I killed approx. 25? I have bought a screen bottom (with sliding shelf) to go under this hive, since it has a solid bottom now, Guess that is another reason to at least lift the bottom brood box off the base and replace it with screen one and can inspect the inside of the solid bottom base. What to find there?? I took photos of the disassembly which is under Inspection of Hebert Hive 8-26-12. I am attaching the photos to this report. Would appreciate any advice or answers to my questions from club members or others. Assume since Labor Day is coming up we will be meeting at a later date in September??
Editor’note: The normal meeting of the SW Louisiana Beekeepers is on the first Monday of each month. Because Labor Day falls on the first Monday, the meeting is postponed to September 10th.