On Wednesday I opened up the bee hives to see if the queens had been released. I also wanted to check to see how the top feeders were working, as I have not used this kind of feeder before and have heard mixed stories.

The top-feeder is full of bees energetically building comb

In Hive A, the bees had stuck the inner cover to the lid and were happily using the feeders, though there were more drowned bees than I am usually comfortable with.

Building comb in the entrance to the top feeder

They were happily building comb on the inner cover and inside the entrance to the top feeder, which should not be too surprising given how wide that entrance is; bees will generally fill openings with either comb or propolis.

Checking comb in the frames

The queen had been released in Hive B, but not in Hive A; they'd knocked her cage so they couldn't get at the marshmallow plug. But they were busy building comb so I just adjusted the queen cage and put them back in.

Red pollen in the frames

They were storing both sugar syrup and pollen in the comb, which means they were getting ready for brood. I love that bright white new comb. The bright red pollen was a bit of a surprise, but some bloom charts indicate it is from liatris, which grows in several yards around here.

Cutting out crazy comb

I cut the crazy comb out of both hives, and dumped it in my wax pot. Some bees came along for the ride, chasing the sugar syrup.

This weekend I'm going to swap out bucket feeders for the top feeders, and see if the queen in Hive A is out. Then I'm leaving them both alone for a couple weeks so they can get down to the business of making baby bees (hopefully).

posted by ayse on 04/27/12