Thursday, October 29, 2009

Inside the hive

Those pictures were taken in the third hive body during October 20th inspection, after removing the empty frames position 1 and 10:

I did not see any varroa yet. The pictures are full definition, click on them to see the bees close in.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cell Size

I measured a few cells in the natural combs extracted from my hive. I found the following cell sizes:
5.5mm (worker cells?)
5.7mm (worker cells?)
6.8mm (drone cells?)

No apparent regression yet. Note that since these are natural combs, the cell walls are extremely thin.

Natural Combs

Here are pictures of natural combs extracted from my hive:

Last Winter inspection

The detection of a wax moth larvae at the entrance of the hive required that one last inspection be made to assess the damage. October 20rst was a 60 degree day, so I decided to make my last inspection on that day.
The colony was occupying 3 of the 5 hive sections. The fourth section had two frames with combs that were removed from the 3rd hive section on August 4th, to try to get the bees to move to the fourth section. Not only that didn't work, but the empty frames that were inserted in the third body to replace the removed frames were not refilled with combs, so I actually reduced the size of the brood nest in an attempt to increase it.
The top section was filled with honey on 8 frames, with 2 hollow frames, one at each end.
The second section had 8 frames as well with 2 hollow frames. The 8 frames were partially empty.
The third section had 8 frames with combs (partially empty) with the 2 outer frames empty. These two frames were replaced with hollow frames.
Hollow frames are frames that are blocked out with a piece of thin plywood, to constrict brood area and improve insulation.
Section 4 and 5 were removed, the hive was closed up, and a piece of metal roofing was placed on top of it, to protect from the coming heavy rains.

This last inspection was a strong disturbance for the colony. The following day, everything looked back to normal. I am crossing my fingers for the next winter.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Yesterday, I checked the hive entrance and found this:

This looks like a wax mot larvae.
This means I will have to open the hive and check the damage inside the brood area. Since the brood is a mess of cross combs, this will be very disturbing to the colony, but wax moth can destroy a colony, so I have to do it.
Hopefully I will have a nice warm day before the winter.

I also saw a drone, surprising at this time of the year.