Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Observation 1.1

I have been sitting on the edge of my garden bed for days, watching the bees come in and out of the hive (when it is not raining out). Through the entrance of our hive, I can see a few dead bees piling up on the screened bottom board. We have been waiting to see if any undertaker bees will throw them out of the hive, but I don't think that has happened yet. I estimate there are about 30 dead or dying bees. I am not that worried, this seems normal to me for the amount of bees in the hive.

During a sun break we rearranged the hive.
This morning it was 57 degrees out and very cloudy. I sat and watched the hive entrance for about 10 minutes and it was surprisingly active. There are worker bees flying in and out, with more focus than I have seen yet. The returning bees are coming in with their pollen baskets full.

Yesterday, during a sun break we rearranged the hive (without the use of smoke) to its permanent position. When we brought the hive home we only took one of the supers and attached it to the bottom screen board. For my hive I am stacking two supers on top of the screen board and installing top bars next to the frames of brood from the Nuc. I hope to eventually have all top bars or bottomless frames in this brood area, so the queen can build as deep of brood comb as she wants. In a couple weeks I will examine the hive and decide if I need to put the next super on. Right now the hive is pretty small.

Here you can see 8 top bars (light wood) and 5 medium frames of brood (dark wood).
In the supers above the deep brood area, I am using medium frames and a few top bars on the angled edges of the hexagon hive. This will allow me to easily removed capped honey frames and store them in my freezer until I am sure the bees won't need them.

The Nuc I bought consisted of 5 frames of brood, one frame of capped honey from the beekeepers freezer, and one empty frame of comb for the bees to build on. When I went into the hive yesterday, I pulled out the empty frame of comb and replaced it with an empty top bar. I also discovered the entire frame of capped honey had been consumed or moved off the frame of honey that was given to me. So I also removed that frame and installed a top bar. Now in my deep brood box I have 8 top bars and 5 medium frames full of brood in various stages. I panicked a little yesterday thinking my bees may not have enough to eat, but with all the activity, I think they will be fine.
Rearranging the hive.

Today I noticed some drones below the hive that were dying. I collected them, and took some photos of them and some of the worker bees I have also collected. I have also been noticing a lot of debris falling out of the hive, and I am just assuming that is the wax that was holding the honey in its comb. This is all the observations for now.

Compare the size of a drone (right) and a worker (left).

Here are 3 drones I found dying under the hive today.

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