Sunday, June 9, 2013

Adding Brood Boxes

Meet the newest additions to our apiary, Andrea's girls. My beekeeping partner's partner, Andrea has been helping us out in the bee yard and so we finally bestowed a hive in her honor. We installed these girls a few weeks ago when it was looking like the Turquoise Bee was on its way out. Last night we went to check on bees and add second brood boxes to the rest of the hives. We didn't find much brood in Andrea's Girls but it does look like the frames are packed with eggs and larva so hopefully in a few days the brood will be capped, the box will be full and the queen will move up to the second box we added. You can see larva in the clip below which is sort of interesting, well to a bee geek at least!

Knowing when to expand space in the hive is an essential bee keeping skill. If the brood nest gets too crowded and the Queen doesn't have anywhere to lay the girls will set up a swarm. Last week we expanded Royal Ruckus and Patrick's Pollinator. This week we added second boxes to Katrina's Drone Den and Andrea's girls. We put a second brood box on The Turquoise Bee but frankly, there isn't anything going on in that hive. I am completely perplexed and stymied about what to do next with her. If I were not leaving the country for the next three weeks I'd get my mentor to go down an inspect the hive with me, or hire the bee squad to come and help.

First we had a drone laying queen who we replaced. Then we had some mediocre brood. Now we have nothing, maybe some eggs, we can't really tell. Each time we visit and check The Turquoise Bee out I think we will find something telling, but nothing so far. We can't locate the queen, although we thought we may have spotted her last week. We had a spell of adequate brood and now nothing. I suppose the girls could have killed the new queen, I suppose the eggs we see are all going to pan out to drone and I am fixing myself to loose her which makes me very sad.

On a much brighter note today we found our Queens in all other hives had moved up to their second brood boxes and were laying well so that is very encouraging. In fact all of them are ready for supers to be thrown on which I plan to do tomorrow. Supers are boxes where the workers store honey for beekeepers. The rule of thumb is three brood boxes, any honey in a brood box belongs to the bees and anything in a super can be taken by a beekeeper.

The weather here continues to be a huge drag. We have had about 6 hours of sunlight in June alone and not much more in May. Not much is blooming and it continues to be wet, raining almost every single day. This has a huge impact on bee nutrition as the bees can't get out to collect pollen or nectar. We do have honey in all of our hives and frames packed with polled and we see pollen coming in, probably from the dandelion bloom but it is still dearth and grim around here.