Thursday, August 30, 2012

July Hive Checks, Playing Catch-up

My niece, making a great start as a junior beekeeper!
The bees are building up VEEERRRRRYYYYY slowly.  I've been really busy lately and haven't blogged, so I'm playing catch-up.

Hive check results:
15 July 2012sunny and clear; refilled feeders, they'd started building wax on top jar, put out the 5 gal open feeder and the only thing at it were ants; bees slightly more nervous than usual, noisier; laying pattern was mediocre;
Frame inspection:    

     1: nothing, bees present
     2: stuck to frame 3 with propolis, left side nothing, right side 30% comb

     3: 60% comb built on left, nectar present, 100% comb on right side; repaired the comb area built out evenly; drone cells present, nectar, spotty brood 
     4: 100% comb drawn on left, capped brood, 100% drawn on right side, with capped brood, pollen, capped honey in corners, drone cells present;  frame is HEAVY
     5: 100% comb built on left side, most with brood, queen spotted, 100% comb drawn on right side, brood, some capped honey; heavy frame     
     6: 60% comb drawn on left side, double-layer twisted comb present again, removed, bridged comb, some brood present; minor comb on right side

They keep building weird comb, we keep cutting it out . . .
     7: 5% comb built on left side, nothing on right side, bees present
     8-10: nothing
Replaced frames 8 & 9 with frames that had additional beeswax (taken from this hive) coated on the foundation.

28 July 2012sunny and clear; refilled feeders; laying pattern more consistant (I think feeding consistantly helps, but it's such a drive out here); lots of progress, propolis sticking frames together;
Frame inspection:    

     1: 95% comb drawn on left side, filled with larvae, 20% drawn on right side, lots of  pollen present
     2: 40% comb drawn on left side, some of it wonky, which was cut out, right side 40% comb with eggs, queen present
Queen Beatrice on frame 2, with eggs in all available cells
     3: 98% comb built on left, some wonky comb, 100% comb on right side, drone cells present on bottom 
Several of these cells found on bottom of frame, straight out so we know it's drone comb vs queen cell
      4: 100% on left, good brood pattern, 100% on right side, with good brood, pollen, capped honey in corners;  spotted worker bee with yellow spot on back   

Several worker bees with mysterious yellow marking, we think/hope it's pollen
     5: 100% on left side, mostly brood, 100% on right side, brood, wonky comb cut out     
     6: 60% comb drawn on left side, wonky comb present again, some brood present, 40% comb drawn on right, pollen; another bee with yellow mark on back

     7: 30% comb built on left side, very minor wonkiness, 10% comb on right side,
     8: 10% comb built on left, nothing on right
     9: bees just started building comb on left
   10: nothing but bees
Decided that there was enough brood/bees to justify adding the second deep brood box on, so we numbered the frames and "checkerboarded" the drawn frames with the new foundation frames in the two boxes.  I had "painted" additional wax onto the new foundation frames, which I will cover more on later.  We kept at least two of the old frames together, with undrawn 


frames in between.  We made sure the queen stayed in the bottom box, and then we stacked 'em up and put the feeders on them.  Get to it girls!

Going back to "painting" the foundation with additional wax, I think this was a good idea.  At the last beeyard visit with PPBA, it was recommended, especially if your bees are not wanting to build on the plasticell.  I took the idea of creating my own double boiler, and used two different sizes of roasting pans out on my grill.  I used cheesecloth to strain out the bee bits from the wax removed from the hive, and melted an additional brick of beeswax that Dick provided (thanks!).  
My homemade $6 double boiler for melting wax
Other than it being really hot, I think it worked well.  I used a mini foam roller to paint the melted wax onto the foundation in thin layers.  My niece Enya was visiting from California, and I put her to work too!  In addition to adding wax to the foundation, we painted the second deep hive body and the super a nice yellow.  I took her out to the beeyard with me, and she even held a frame full of bees.  I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did!
Stacking the second deep brood box on
Done for the day!