BeeKeeping

Hive A Honeybound

Okay, this mystifies me. Several weeks ago, I combined two weaker hives (A and C.) I inspected the combined Hive A today (which is 3 deeps tall) and it is practically honey-bound and STUFFED with bees! I looked at frames in all three supers and could find no brood, outside of what looked like a handful of capped brood in the center of a cell. And a lot of it isn't honey - a lot is open nectar in cells. Not sure what I'm seeing here.

Pulled 10 frames of honey from Hive B

The honey came from the top deep super of a 3-deep hive (Hive B), leaving a brood box on the bottom and another full super of honey above it. The frames were pulled at noon. Temperature was in the mid-sixties and overcast. I did not use a smoker and the bees, while active and not happy, were manageable. On examination, I saw a bit of brood on one side of one frame, so I popped it into my other hive, trading it for an empty frame on that hive. That leaves me a net nine frames of honey to extract tomorrow morning.

Hive inspection - Hive A

Today I inspected Hive A - the newly combined hive. It's too early to check on the status of the queen (I left both queens in the hive when combining), so I was just checking this time to make sure the newspaper had been eaten through and that the hives were successfully combined. There was no newspaper at all in the hive. I removed the top two supers and did my best to place brood near brood and honey near honey. I made sure the two bottoms supers all contained full frames and moved empty frames to the top super. Currently, the top super is about half empty. All looks good.

Reconfigured Combined Hive A

Last week, I combined Hives A and C. Several days ago, I opened the hive to make sure the newspaper had been eaten through and the hives were integrated. Since then, however, I have noticed hundreds (maybe a thousand?) bees clustered beneath the screened bottom board UNDER the hive. This has been going on for several days. The temperatures are warm by Pacific Northwest standards: at, near, or just over 90 degrees during the day and very warm at night.

Combined hives A and C with newspaper method

As I'm a bit worried about these two hives going into winter (insufficient bulk/food stores) I decided to combine them today using the newspaper method - placing a single sheet of newspaper between the hives. I put Hive C (one super) on top of Hive A (two supers) - with the sheet of newspaper in between. I did not remove one of the queens; I know it's a risk, but I left both queens and with luck, the bees will make the right choice. Stay tuned ...

Basically, this was just a reintegration of the bees that swarmed July 8, more than a month and a half ago ...

Hive Inspection - A and C

Opened up hives A and C (A being the hive that swarmed and C being the recipient of that swarm once captured.) Hive A is two deep supers - observed normal activity and brood in the cells. Hive C is one super, about half fully drawn with brood, capped brood and open nectar cells.

Hive Inspection - 08/09/2017

Since the hive split on July 8, I have tried not to disturb the bees much. Outside of a quick inspection on July 23, this is the first time I've looked inside. Even this is a very cursory inspection.

Hive A - This is the hive the swarm left, taking the queen with her. This hive has produced a new queen on its own. There are 2 supers on this hive - the top one is still empty but a frame or two in the center has been mostly drawn and had uncapped honey. I saw lots of bees in the bottom super but did not inspect, having verified the existence of a queen in the last inspection.

Hive inspections - A and C

I inspected Hive A yesterday and saw eggs. So yes, the bees made their own queen. She is mated and is laying eggs. But last night, I thought about my suspicion that I may have set the swarming into motion with my frame swapping the month before (I took a full frame of brood and bees from the middle of the brood super and put it up into the middle of the empty top super to try to encourage the bees to start drawing foundation.) So this morning, I swapped them back. Not sure if THAT was a good idea, as the brood is gone and that frame now is nearly full of uncapped honey.

Hive A has a mated queen

Today I inspected only Hive A - the hive that swarmed. Earlier in the week, I observed what I was sure was a mating swarm. That must have been what it was as today's inspection showed eggs in one of the frames! Looks like she's just starting out, as I only spotted them on one frame. I did not see the queen but I did not look for her that hard, either. Still no new comb building going on but one super is fully drawn.

Hive A Swarming again?

It appears that Hive A just swarmed AGAIN - second time in eight days. But this was weird ... I heard the loud humming (a little after 4 p.m., with the summer sun still well up in the sky), so I went over to the hive and it was totally enveloped in flying bees. There were also bees bearding over the front and crawling up the front of the hive. There was a large swarm cloud of bees over the hive, and I shot lots of video. But they didn't go anywhere.

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