February 8th, 2013 Friday
Ref: Hebert Hive – operating hive since April 2012
Shirley Hive – Now empty of bees but completely furnished as Hebert Hive
Five Frame Hive – Queen Raising
Queen Rearing Kit – ready to install in five frame hive
I opened the Hebert hive for inspection and to change the entrance to larger for the hive as I have noticed the bees collecting around the winter opening (small) now that they have begun to gather pollen. I removed the top cover and the inner cover and the bees were very gentle and almost all were inside the hive and none in or under the inner or outer cover. No beetles noted whatsoever. See photos attached. Smoked very little and started by removing the frame from the super that we replaced with new one when Richard Hebert last inspected the hive. This frame is again completely clear of any activity and looks like the day we put it in the hive. Removed the second thru the seventh frame in top super and inspected and saw various patterns or honey, brood, and pollen (I think). There were just about as many bees as there were in January and all looked well to my inexperience eyes. All the bees and activity was centered around the 4,5,6,7 frame or deep inside the super. I did not remove all the frames in the super so did not look at lower brood box as all seemed well as far as I could see down to brood box. I did notice several patches of comb, with larva and bees, about the size of golf ball and smaller. Bees were completely covering these pieces and seemed attached to the top of the brood box frames and over to the associated inner side of the frame plastic. There are several photos with this mass inside the box and others with the comb material removed and placed on a board for photographing. What is this? Queens or larva being born or what? Should it be something to be concerned with?
In general all looked good and bees were fairly gentle – at 11am – but became more adjusted the further I went into the hive, and began to fly around my head but still no problem. I lifted the brood box enough to rotate the entrance strip so a larger opening is now open for the spring and summer. They seemed to enjoy this and immediately started using it to go in and out. Think the small entrance for the winter was not limiting their activity into and out of the Hive. Noted many bees with yellow pollen pouches going into the hive. Would like to sit down with Richard and go over photos so I can understand what is going on and should I be doing something before we introduce the new queen in April 10. Out of necessity we will have to kill the existing queen when the new queen is placed in the hive. Can we save her for another hive of someone else’s that has lost their queen?
I have a complete second hive (Shirley Hive) set up near the first (Hebert Hive) which had a brood box, queen separator, and super – all complete with frames, inner cover, outer lid, and entrance board. It has a screen bottom but the Hebert Hive has a solid wood bottom and it is doing well but has a screen board for the Hebert Hive but not installed yet, should I do this or not since they seem to be doing so well. I have two queens coming in April and plan is to remove the old queen from the Hebert hive and install one of the new queens in this hive. At the same time remove (some number of frames with honey, brood, pollen or whatever) from the Hebert Hive and place these in the Shirley Hive and move the empty frames from the Shirley Hive into the Hebert Hive and install the second new queen into the Shirley Hive then and move hive to a different location, some distance away.
I now have a queen kit complete with frame that contains plastic cups for eggs, larva, and so forth. I have a five frame medium hive now that I could use to try to grow queens. When should I start this? Soon I think. Idea is to take some number of frames from the Hebert Hive and put into the 5 frame with the special queen frame with the plastic cups. The bees will recognize there is no queen and start queen cells in the plastic cups and presto new queens will be made, or I think that is supposed to be what happens. The queen kit is set up so when the queen emerges from the plastic cup she is captured in a plastic tube so she can be transferred easily. So big question is.
When do I take frames from Hebert Hive and move to five frame hive with queen kit? Now that the bees have begun to forage it appears it should be soon.
Frames will be removed from the Hebert Hive and placed in the Shirley Hive as soon as the new queens arrive, April 10. Old queen removed from the Hebert Hive and other new queen placed in Hebert Hive.
So if Hebert hive has 20 frames, (10 in super and 10 in brood box) how many frames will go to Shirley Hive and how many frames will go to 5 frame queen rearing hive?
I think perhaps 5 to Shirley and 5 to new frame hive. What to include: honey frame, brood frame, pollen frame, nectar frame, drone frame. OK or not?
Understand that the new queens will have to leave hive and meet drones in air or is this necessary with the new queens??? These bees are curious creatures but I’m having fun and looking to getting a lot of honey in September and some new queens soon to share with club members or others or even start more hives myself. Guess the big question is how many frames and what kind to leave in the Hebert Hive so the new queen can get started and they can build up enough food sources before winter so they can survive. Also should the queen hive (5 frames) be moved far away from the other two hives???
Jimmy Earl Cooley March 8, 2013