Sunday, May 23, 2010

Inspections, and failed experiment

Today, I inspected L1, L2 and L3. L2 was moved again, with the hive bodies not fitting well together, lot of gaps producing draft in the recent cold weather we had. The bees were tame, too tame, and comb building hasn't progressed much. I am worried for this hive, it is been disturbed too much. Last inspection, I put two jars on the feeders, they were both empty (removed from the hive and thrown in the grass!). I refilled one, and took the second feeder to put it on L3.
Next we checked L3. The hive was moved to a different spot by the homeowners, no problem there. The hive will get less sun, but also less wind. The grass around the hive was yellow, and had been killed with Glyphosate (Roundup). That is potentially bad for the bees, but I didn't find much dead bees. However, it may affect the brood, and would affect the honey as well. I had to educate the owner about Roundup, but I forgot to mention that this stuff will eventually endup in the honey. This hive is also the one I am experimenting with top bars instead of frames. I can report it is not working. The bees attach the top bars to the combs above. It is a mess. The height of 210mm of a Warre was obviously carefully chosen. This hive will have to be transitioned to a Warre as soon as possible.
L1 was doing good. I found more queen cells, and the colony is still numerous, with swarming potential, no doubt. There was a lot of drones. This hive is not disturbed at all by the owners, and will probably do very good in the future. The top supper is filling up with honey, been very heavy already. Supper 2 and 3 have combs, supper 4 and 5 are empty. All the frames are cross-combed. If my Warre hives do well, I will then transition all hives into Warres.

So the next priorities are:
1. Prepare L3 for transition to Warre.
2. Understand why L2 is been disturbed, help the owner fence if.
3. Keep up with culling swarm cells on L1. We may have a small honey harvest.

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