Another big day, it seems like Spring is a pretty crazy time if you like to keep a few bees. This was a lazy Saturday, warmish at times, maybe up to 20 degrees, but kinda gusty and cold at times, too. If you were going to pick the weather to do any of this stuff, you'd pick a still, calm 30 degreee day, this upsets the bees the least, as it is close to the temperature they keep in the hive, and they do not fear for their babies catching a cold or worse. Someone told me not to open them up at all if it is under 18, you seriously risk damaging the brood.
Trouble is, there are not many still 30 degree days like that in Spring (that coincide with weekends, too), in fact none, so far.
Todays first mission was to transfer the first swarm into a proper box, the one it was in had some sort of board that I bought at a bee shop once and have never used, and the lid was just an old bit of ply that just barely covered the top.
They had been in there 3 weeks now, and seemed content, from the outside. This is the swarm from Metropolis that I collected with the swarm-buster 2010, aka "the whistling tunnel of death"...
At first glance the bees seem to have survivied, they were working, bringing in nectar and honey, fair bit of activity.
Under the lid, not much going on...
This box already had partially drawn out comb, so they had made themselves right at home.
A few of the combs below...
Quite a few bees in there, but it wasn't a big swarm to start with.
I lifted each frame out, and put them in the new box, same order.
Building up a good supply of nectar in there...pollen...
But....hang on what's missing......didn't see the queen...(i seem to be pretty bad at queen spotting, even when I know she's home..)...no grubs..... no brood.....I started looking for eggs, and I think I saw heaps of them, often multiple eggs in each cell.....
This is really bad, I need to find a queen for them soon.
Dial - a - Queen?
Might have to, if I wasnt these girls to make it.
Not sure if it is worth the trouble, I could also re-unite this box with one of the others.
The 'Newspaper method'. something I haven't tried yet.
OK, so this is the "Spot the drone" bit. There's at least two fatty bumbas in this shot....
OK, after a break, time to get into the Other hive, the plan was to check the bottom box. The top two supers were filling up slowly with honey, but I think this one had swarmed. Not sure, but surely the swarm that ended up in Kate's yard a week ago was from the Other...Metropolis had definitely swarmed a week prior...they can't swarm twice, can they...?
That's the Other on the right.
Quick peek in the top box, a lot of drawing of comb had been going on, fair bit of nectar in there.
One of the frames that had been in the box over winter, lots of capped honey, but still some bits of brood in there, can't steal this yet (or you get bee-juice in your honey from the spun brood...)
Spot the Drone time again, ....when I put in the queen excluder in a few weeks ago, I put the queen in the bottom box, but many drones were trapped above the excluder. Too fat to fit through the queen excluder, and no other way out. Even after they died, the clean-up crew workers couldn't fit them through the QX, so they stayed there, all dried up
Excluder removed, looking down into the brood box...
You can see the drone cells poking out proud of the rest.
Loads of brood on some of the frames, towards the middle.
I found two big queen cells at the bottom of a couple of the frames.
One got mashed as I lefted the frame out.
This other little peanut I carved off.
In retrospect, this was probably a dumb thing to do, but at the time I thought 'better stop this thing from swarming...'.
...Oops, they (probably) swarmed a week ago.....
. ...that means I just killed the unborn new queen...
...this could end badly.
So, I probably need to get a queen for this one too?
Not sure, need to check my logic, work out what hapened when....
but I got a bad feeling about this.
At the end of the day, the girls were mighty pissed off with me.
The 2 hives I had looked at, one was apparently queenless, the other I might have just killed their only hope?
On my gloves, those little dots are lots of stingers.
I know what they look like now, and I'm amazed I don't get stung more.
No stings today, so it was a good day