Friday, June 6, 2014

Spring 2014 Update

Here's a brief on my 2014 beekeeping:

The two colonies from last year's cutout survived. #1 (My son's) looking good, just recently noticed a couple queen cells. We'll just wait and see what happens, the swarm season in Alabama is winding up, but the bees do what they want, when they want.

#2 is a doozy! Busting at the seams coming out of winter. Multiple queen cells in May so I got ready to split them. When I made the first divide I found opened queen cells, no queen, no eggs, lots of drone and  still a lot of bees, so I just made a four comb divide (Nuc #1). I figured the old queen had already swarmed and I just missed it. A few days later I took one of the queen cells from #2 and placed it in Nuc #1. They chewed it away, for they had already started one of their own.

Meanwhile, one afternoon #2 swarms into a nearby tree, so my son and I start making preparations to catch them. While we are getting another box ready, they go back into the hive! The next day about the same time, they do it again. I don't know what's going on. The next day (Sunday), after church I get home just in time to see a swarm hanging on a limb as it lifts off and away they go, out of sight. My guess is that every time one of those queen cells hatch, they are casting secondary swarms.

I went into #2 the next day and found still several unhatched queen cells and an emerged queen. I didn't want to take a chance losing her, so I made another divide (Nuc #2) and put her in it, hoping that now when the next queen emerges it will be the end of swarming. Well, they didn't swarm any more and as of today all colonies have laying queens. Looking good so far.

6 comments:

  1. Hey Dave. I want to start a TBH next spring. I'd like to ask a few questions. Text me at 205-792-9320

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Dave, we are starting our adventure with bees 03/28/2015 in Centreville, AL. We have joined Bibb County Beekeepers Association to help with our journey. I am sure you are aware top bar hives are not encouraged here. We would love to see your hive and have a discussion with someone who will be supportive. MayCremer@gmail.com Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is your top bar hive progressing? I want to start one as well. Most people here give me a blank stare when I mention it.

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    2. The bees seem to be doing really well this year. The apiary has grown to about eight colonies right now (4 full-size, 2 small-size, 2 nucs). Yeah, I know the blank stare. I usually just smile and go on (especially when I'm told it won't work).

      My suggestion would be to wait until spring so you can maximize time for buildup. More than one hive is always a good idea, for several reasons. Sourcing the bees from local (preferably treatment-free) keepers would be helpful. I would be happy to help with any questions.

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    3. Thanks for the suggestion. I plan to build two hives this winter and hopefully catch a swarm on our land. I saw one last year and have several folks marking locations of hives so I can monitor them for swarms.

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  3. Hello Dave, we are starting our adventure with bees 03/28/2015 in Centreville, AL. We have joined Bibb County Beekeepers Association to help with our journey. I am sure you are aware top bar hives are not encouraged here. We would love to see your hive and have a discussion with someone who will be supportive. MayCremer@gmail.com Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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