Spring Bee Checkups

This weekend I decided it was time to go check on the hives and do some swarm prevention. Last year Hive B threw off half a dozen swarms and it was obnoxious as heck. I usually try to open up the hives in late February to early March, and have only been delayed this year because our usual warm weekend was earlier an usual, before I wanted to be opening the hives up (opening the hives means breaking the propolis seal around the boxes, so there will be drafts in there until the bees re-seal it up, so I try not to do it while nights are still cold).

Last summer I bought two queens to re-queen Hive B and divide it, and then discovered Hive B's queen was alive and healthy. So I made two new hives, but only one of them made it (I really didn't put in enough work to establish them properly). That was kind of OK (apart from the loss of bees, of course), because I really don't want to have more than two hives back there in general; this is a hobby, not a professional beeyard. So today we cleaned up the empty hive and I went through both Hive A (unmarked) and Hive B.

Pulling out cross comb and checking the frames

Hive A was doing a decent job building comb and stocking it. Their honey supply was low, but it's the start of the season so I wouldn't expect them to be fully stocked. The queen appears to be healthy and they were not too protective.

Some decent brood frame

In this photo you can see the outer circle of honey stores, then a brood nest of capped brood and open brood cells. This frame was one of the ones I put in from Hive B when I made this hive, so it's not in primary use now; they have moved down to the lower box where there is newer comb.

In Hive B, I opened up the honey box I gave them last year and found this mess:

Hive B is going to kill me

I swear, I want to punch every one of those bees for making this. I'm going to let them fill it with honey and then they will lose the whole box at once because they are poops and I can't just pull one frame from this mess. That's comb built in swirls and spirals, like this is an art project. When I give them a new box they are getting full sheets of foundation because they are clearly untrustworthy with the shape of their own comb.

Hives A and B together

In all, a quick tour through the hives and then we cleaned up and put away the extra hive parts and equipment.

posted by ayse on 03/13/21

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