A lot of things happened in the last month:
1. An inspection of the 3 hives on the Snohomish property showed flaws in the hive design. W2 had a comb floating, only hanging from the sides, no top bar to support it. It was build between the first top bar and the wall, because the space between them was too wide. The comb fell down when I opened the hive. W2 will need some work soon, and a taller sump, the current sump does not allow me to remove a fallen comb. Otherwise the hive is progressing well, with 2 full bodies.
2. K1-W3 is finally cleaning the combs of dead larvae. The hive is progressing too slowly. Less than 1 full body.
3. W1 is OK, slow progress too. Less than 1 full body.
4. L1 is doing good, no more queen cells, but not much progress either, still occupying 3 mediums. Its quilt is falling apart.
5. L2 is progressing too slowly. Less than 1 full medium.
6. L3-W4 is progressing fast, but making a mess, same reason as W2, too much space between the hive wall and the first/last top bar. L3-W4 was equipped with 9 top bars. A comb extending through two sections was removed. 1 full medium (Lang part), 1 full body (Warre part).
7. Andy's hive swarmed, with one and a half sections full. This is a surprise. This hive had a comb extending through two bodies, due to excessive space. A ninth top bar was added after the comb was sectioned. The swarm was huge. Jack used my spare hive to capture it. I don't have any spare hive at the moment. Andy's hive is doing very well.
8. Chris called me for a big swarm in town. We captured it. Where is my spare hive ?? Oh Yeah, right! I build a sump this past Friday morning, and robbed K1-W3 off its quilt and roof. The weather is warm enough that K1-W3 can survive without them for a few days. I had three available hive bodies with no top bars. I cut wider top bars, and put 9 top bars in each bodies. The swarm was installed on Chris' property Friday noon. Big swarm with yellow bees and black bees. Mixed genetics, good looking swarm, lots of blackberries nearby, plus urban location is good for flowers. This should be a successful colony. This is W4. I have 7 hives again.
9. All hives that had a feeder built burr combs full of honey between the top bars and the bottom of the feeder. This is another design flaw.
Thing to do:
1. K1-W3 needs a quilt and a roof.
2. Build a full size sump for W1 and W2, and add a mesh at the bottom to block mice.
3. Add a wire mesh under all existing sump to block mice from wintering inside the hives. To make this easier, build a spare sump with the mesh, and exchange it, then upgrade the sumps one by one.
3. Fix W2 fallen comb.
4. Remove all unused hive bodies currently set in occupied hives, and install 9 top bars in them, evenly spaced and secured with beeswax.
5. Set the feeders to receive 5 jars instead of 1, and fill the space under the feeder floor.
Requests for hive received so far:
1. Chris' property - FULFILLED.
2. Sultan cabin.
Space available for new hives:
1. W3 old position.
The beekeeping operation is progressing well. I need to build spare hives in addition to the two hives that will be added next Spring.
Karen and Jonathan want to participate. They will take the class with Kristen next October. This is becoming a great family project.
Next post: pictures of W4 (Chris'). I will inspect this hive Friday or Saturday.