Sunday, June 13, 2010

Swarm... of People

We had my favourite kind of bee meeting. The outside kind. I volunteered this time for the club to come to my yard.

The weather held off for us which was very kind. It was really hot though, high of around 30 and very humid.

We opened Hive #1, my booming hive, and the experienced beekeepers confirmed it hasn't swarmed. The overall comment is that it's a nice hive.

I wasn't using a queen excluder so we put one in. A half hour later though a ton of bees had come out of the top exit and the bottom. I was reassured it'd just take them some time to figure out how to traverse through the excluder.

Oh, and honey! I lifted the second super and had to set it back down quick. It was heavy. I guesstimate the weight to be 40+ pounds. So Dad and I now need to consider extracting some of our honey now. The advice is to remove a few frames and extract them, and put back the empty frames for hte bees to refill.

There was some honey filled burr comb mixed the drone brood between the honey boxes - as a result of no queen excluder in use.

The advice was to clean that off. Now when I did this in the past I'd virtually pick each bee off so as not to snarl them in the comb and squish them. They showed me how to angle the hive tool down low and slide it under the combs and run it the whole length of the frame, picking up the comb and then dumping the whole thing in front of the hive for the bees to lick up.

We loaded it onto a paper plate to pass around first and then set it in front of the hive. Would you believe two hours later that plate was clean and dry. The bees had licked every bit of honey off it.

Of course we'll have to come back in a week to see which side of the excluder the queen is on. That's when it's handy to have a chart showing the development of an egg to bee, showing the growth day by day. That's because in a week I'll be looking for eggs are smaller larva that are younger than 6 days.

We opened Dad's nuc, or I should say he opened his hive. The bees were just getting started on their second brood chamber. In the first brood chamber the advice was to insert blank frames between the middle established nuc frames.

The reason for this is to get the bees to build up the comb faster and the queen to lay in those frames. At this time of year, keeping the brood together for warm isn't an issue as it would be in the spring or fall.

We topped up sugar water on both nuc hives and then we congregated in the grassy area to have coffee snacks and lots of conversation.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I was too busy to get many photos of the crowd but I'll upload those later once others email them to me.

Of course with beekeepers around there was advice a-plenty.
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