New Additions

We finally picked up the bees I had ordered this morning.   Pickup had been delayed multiple times along the way due to scheduling and our trip.  Earlier in the week Wayne and I discussed placement and he kindly put together a hive stand of sorts (cinderblocks w/cedar planks to avoid treated wood). We wanted to 1. move in the new colony & add a couple supers, 2. move the nuc box & big hive to the new stand and 3. determine if there were queens in either the nuc or the big hive or (ever hopeful) both.

Here’s how we started.  Wayne had moved the new hive (the purple one on the right) from the car before I even suited up.  The nuc box was an easy shift.

We removed the screen on the front of the purple hive and struggled to get the entrance reducer in there before all the bees vacated.  They apparently did not enjoy the hour drive at all.  When they opened the top, added two supers with foundation, put on a screened topcover and a new hive top.

That completed, we moved to the nuc.  I was nervous to see what was going on as last inspection didn’t clearly show the presence of a queen.   I was excited to find a frame with brood.  Wayne says he saw the queen scamper out of the way when pulled the frame up to see it clearly.

The back of the same frame:

The brood pattern isn’t great, but she’s there so I’m happy for that.  The bad news is that I also saw this (forgive the crappy picture):

I’m always looking for varroa and have been lucky not to find anything so far, but this jumped out at me immediately.  I knew it was going to happen eventually (from what I’ve read, pretty much everyone gets varroa at some point), but it doesn’t make me feel much better about it.

So, mixed emotions after opening the nuc box.  We ended with the largest part of the task – inspecting the big hive and relocating it to the hive stand.  Wayne removed two of the honey supers and the top and set them aside so we could easily reach the brood chamber.  I was quite disappointed to find nothing.  They are storing a small amount of honey and some pollen, but there is absolutely no brood or signs of brood.  We went all the way down to the bottom box just to make sure.  Since we had already upset them quite a bit, I decided to pull out the long frames that were originally given to us last year.  It was how we started and it worked quite well, but because we have shallow boxes they don’t fit well and the bees were forever building large amounts of burr comb in the remaining space making inspections challenging.  I had planned for us to knock as many bees as possible into the hive, but right after we tried to move the frames, Wayne was stung on the hand through his glove.  We decided if they were that unhappy, it was time to go.  So, I left the long frames in a tupperware box beside the hive in hopes the the bees would wander home by dark.  I’ll go out there tonight suited and remove anyone who’s left and put the frames in the garage.  Probably bad bee form, but I just didn’t want to upset them any further.

Long frames covered in very unhappy bees:

So, I now have several decisions to make.  I need to figure out how bad our varroa problem is in the nuc box.  Based on that finding, I’ll have to decide if I’m going to combine that colony with the large hive or try to get a mated queen.  Lots to think about.

Here’s how we ended the day with our new hive and new hive stand:

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One Response

  1. Looking good, Julia! I just bought two queens from Winston Salem, one for my queenless hive (which developed a laying worker) and one for a new split I did this week. Both new hives accepted their queens and so far, so good. Things are looking good and your pictures are great. Hope all is well and stop by the blog sometime. I’m updating pretty regularly now. -Mark

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