August 24, 2013 (Day 106) – Inspection
Blue Hive 3
I’ve been checking on Blue Hive 3 (BH3) over the past few days, since introducing the queen. It can take anywhere from 2 days to an entire week for her to be released. I checked on day 3 and day 5. I suspect she was released on day 7. Today I found an empty queen cage, lots of bur comb, and tons of active little bees. I did look for the queen and didn’t find her. Doesn’t mean she isn’t there, just means she was hiding from me.
BH3 is still a very young hive, so I’ve kept a watchful eye on it since neighboring Green Hive 1 (GH1) is a big bully and likes to hang out front and sneak their way into BH3 for a little robbing frenzy. I put the entrance reducer to the smallest size. There’s not much activity yet at the front of BH3, so their guard is still down.
I also noticed inside the hive that the two end frames were practically untouched. I split them up and put one on each end so they can be filled out. Judging from the staircase of comb that travelled from the top of the frames to the top cover, the girls could use some more room. Tomorrow I’ll head to my bee supplier and purchase some proper extra boxes and a proper top cover so they can start expanding upward.
I’m surprised at how well the plastic boardman feeder is working for BH3. As a front feeder I can understand the robbing sensation they create, but within a closed top box it works very well. However, I’m such a clutz and always end up spilling, not that the bees complain. Quite the opposite. They go nuts! In fact, I was mixing a batch last weekend and we had the kitchen window open (screen down, of course). A dozen bees were buzzing outside the kitchen window. The little buggers could smell the sugar syrup and the Honey B Healthy from outside, so you can imagine what the scene is like when there’s a pool of syrup open right next to their hive. Gear is good.
Green Hive 1
Green Hive is crazy active and doing super. Like I said, they’re the bully hive, having endured Yellow Hive 2’s low period and now seeing their little neighbor hive at a relatively weak point, their strength has gone to their heads.
GH1 is still foraging like crazy on the clover in the yard and on late blooming plants. The rain has perked everything back up. Chunks of pollen are carried in and they’re sucking down a gallon of sugar syrup every 2 days. I was considering emptying the bees out of their Box 5 and transferring it to BH3, but they need the space, and if they can draw out and fill that top box with stores, then that would be great for helping them get through the winter.
Yellow Hive 2 is Back
YH2 has really come to life. They’re happy with their new queen and GH1 isn’t messing with them anymore. They aren’t drinking as much syrup as GH1, maybe a gallon every 4 days. Still not too shabby. I didn’t bother them. If it ain’t broke, leave them alone.
I’m happy now that everyone seems to be on the right track. No honey this year, but have been collecting the bur comb and hope to make some lip balm or face cream or something out of it. Come heck or high water, I will give away some product from the hives this holiday season!