Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Another visitor and a full report

I have the best brother-in-law ever! Some time ago Charlie made Paula and I this wonderful workbench for the bee yard. I am sure there was some kind of trade of services for his craftsmanship although I can remember what that might have been. Needless to say the bench totally rocks and saves a great deal of strain on our back. I've always known Charlie liked honey, especially comb honey but I didn't really appreciate how interested he was in the bees and the beekeeping.

Paula and went down to do a full inspection of the hives Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon I took Charlie down for a show and tell visit. Both days were very hot and sunny and there is a great nectar flow on now so the bees remain very docile. They will stay this way until the middle end of August and then get defensive as they since a need to protect their food stores. Additionally in our healthy hives there is a great deal of brood so the bees are busy tending to the brood or out foraging. July is the perfect month for visitors.

It was a great deal of fun to show Charlie Royal Ruckus, our strongest hive to date. He got to see brood, nectar and capped honey and observe workers in all aspects of their work. When we went into Patrick's Pollinator we watched two drones trying to chew their way out of cells. It is always a treat  to see new emerging bees!

So here is the report. Andrea's girls are gone gone gone. I have no idea what happened to them but remain suspicious of some sort of brood disease. The Queen never laid much and what she did lay never hatched. The population dwindled to nothing, workers never started to lay and the bees seemed to disappear. Very perplexing.  Patrick's Pollinator continues to do well but I'd like to see more effort in packing nectar and capping honey. The bees have not moved up well into the supers. Royal Ruckus seems to be way ahead of the hives that went in nearly four weeks earlier than she did. She has three packed brood boxes and two supers, the first one has some capped honey. Katrina's Drone Den still worries me as there still isn't any brood and we can't find the marked queen. I still think these girls swarmed and might be in the process of re-queening but if we don't have any eggs by tomorrow morning we are going to combine them with  The Turquoise  Bee, another poorly populated but healthy hive.

In the mean time I am giving some thought to expanding The Flight of The Turquoise Bee Apiary with a "West" location. Charlie has purchased a farm about an hour outside of St. Paul and is interested in hosting some hives. He gets pollinating services and I get more hives. Seems like a win win if you ask me.

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