Saturday, July 11, 2009

Here's the Queen

Today I removed the hive feeders from both hives. Now my babies are on their own.
A friend advised that Basswood trees are offering nectar right now among various other plants, even alphalfa (that is if the farmer doesn't cut it down before it blooms which he usually will).
(Isn't this queen lovely? She's got a very long abdomen and a dot of yellow paint on her back. I was glad to see her because I hadn't seen her for about 3 weeks when doing inspections - I looked for brood and eggs and found them so I didn't tear the hive apart just to see her).
The bees have been very busy in both honey supers drawing comb on the plastic foundation I gave them.
Hive #2 had 6 of 10 frames drawn with nectar in the central 3 frames. Nothing is capped yet and no signs of brood, eggs, larvae or the queen--I don't have a queen excluder on the hive so as to allow the bees to move freely to draw the comb.
Another thing I did on my friend Henry's advice was to add a 10th frame to the honey super. I had placed 9 frames which is what most beekeepers do. They use 9 frames so the bees will build the comb out a little more. That means when the cappings are cut off there's more wax.
Henry suggested adding the 10th frame just at the beginning while they're drawing the comb, otherwise they could draw it out wonky. So I gently shifted the frames over so that the 10th could fit in (glad I didn't nail in those frame holders that run along the inside edge - they only allow for 9 frames).
Hive #1 was the same as #2 except that they had about 5 frames of drawn comb done and the queen was in the super, wandering around looking for a spot to lay eggs.
I was tempted to grab her and put her down in the deep but I didn't. It's probably time to put the excluder in on that hive.
I figure that both hives will have the magic number of 7 of 10 frames drawn in the next few days so at that time I should probably put the queen excluder on and then add another honey super.
It's been a real thrill to see the bees making honey and I'm very proud of their hard work.
Once I put on the second super I hope to put in a few frames that are blank so that the bees will create honeycomb.

I'm presuming that their production of wax from here on will depend on their ability to find nectar so that they can produce the wax. Now it'll be up to them and mother nature. I'm sure glad the bees know what they're doing.
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