Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bees - first check

This morning I checked on the two hives of bees I bought and installed 10 days ago. I checked my top bar hive (Hive 1) first. Everything looked great! The bees were drawing comb off of the bars, there was still plenty of honey left in the jar, the queen had been released, and everything was humming along nicely. I moved back the follower board to give them more room, took out the queen cage, closed them back up, and that was that. The bees stayed calm (it helped that it was only 60 degrees out and they were cold).

The Warre hive (Hive 2), however, was another story. When I removed the top box, I found comb hanging everywhere but where it was supposed to be. The jar of honey I'd left for them was completely empty, but they'd built comb on top of it, rising up in a ring, continuing the shape of the jar. I'd taken out three frames to make room for the jar, and the bees had built comb off the bottom of the frames above, down into the opening next to the jar. So basically I had to remove all of the comb they'd built over the course of the week. I also found that the queen was still in her cage, so I carefully removed her and dropped her in the hive. Thankfully, that means there wasn't any brood in any of the combs (and no honey that I could see, either).

So basically this means that Hive 2 is starting over from scratch. I'll give them more honey (using the feeder this time) so hopefully they can bounce back after this early setback.

This means that right off the bat the top bar hive is showing a lead on the Warre - but that may just be because the queen wasn't released and I didn't use the feeder like I should have. We'll see how each progresses over the course of the summer (and winter - I'm very nervous to see if either of them make it through!)
Some of the drawn comb I had to remove from Hive 2

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