Bee Diary: June 7, 2010

05-31-10_colony1Beltane                                           Waning Planting Moon

Hive inspections today.  Looking to see how the bees are using the other two honey supers I put on last week, now a total of four.  They have two almost full, but they have not begun to draw out much comb on the two with bare foundation.  At least not yet.  I did another reversal of the hive boxes–at least I think I did, the bees got pretty mad about the time for the reversal and I couldn’t recall afterwards if I’d switched the boxes or not.

Novices leap ahead where veterans fear to tread.  In the bee newsletter from the MN. Hobby Beekeepers Assoc. this month, Gary Reuter of the U Bee lab recommended taking frames out of a bustling parent colony, one per hive box and putting them in a divide or a package colony.  The divide, if you recall, is the hive box I moved from the parent colony late in April.  It received a new queen, a marked Mn. Hygienic.  I’ve not seen her, but I have seen brood.  The package colony is the one growing from the two-pound package of bees I got in mid-April.

There is, of course, a possible major problem with this maneuver.  What if you take the queen from the parent colony over to the new colony?  So, I decided that careful observation would take care of that.  I scanned both frames and tried to do it in an organized fashion, looking for a longer, more slender bee with her abdominal end deposited in a cell.  Didn’t see any.  Of course, as I learned long ago in philosophy, you can’t prove a negative, so all I can say for sure is that I did not see her.  If I was wrong, I guess I’ll know next week.

The divide and the package colonies have made progress since last week.  I decided to put another hive box on the package colony so all three now have two hive boxes.  The parent remains the only one with honey supers.  If the divide kicks into gear as the nectar flow starts (I’m not exactly sure what that is, but it’s good and a big deal and supposed to be happening about now this year.)  The goal for both the divide and the package colony is to have three hive boxes before winter with enough honey stored to feed the colony until the spring.

That’s what my current parent colony did, so I have evidence that it can be done.  It seems to me they’re both on track to get that much done and I would be surprised if I didn’t get some honey from the divide.

No stings.  I’m moving slower now and have mastered the art of keeping the smoker going for the length of time I’m working in the bee yard.  The package colony needed another bucket of syrup, but the pollen patty was fine.

I closed them all up, took off the bee suit, put my hive tool and smoker away and came in the house to make these notes.

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