Rowe Apiaries - bee hive ready for expansion - Sophia Rowe

Bee Packages – Part III – Season 4

Yesterday, I checked on my three new colonies, which were started from nucs this May. I remember when I started beekeeping, I often took my brood frames out during the honey season, to check on egg laying and the queen. This process was very disruptive to the colonies. As I read later, it would take them at least three days to get back to regular business, after I took them apart. Besides, there is always a risk of injury to the queen…

Nowadays, I only dust my colonies during the summer. Everything else is done by visual inspection. If I see too many drones (there should really be just a few) or bees with deformed wings, I begin a thorough inspection. If I see that the colony does not have young bees (the fussy ones that cannot fly yet), I become suspicious too. Last, but probably most important thing I notice is the bees’ temperament. If the bees have lost their queen, they will be noisy, aggressive, and disoriented. That said, it is good to look for other signs of trouble as well, such as small hive beetles (more than three running wild on the top), general colony size, and the amount of nectar stores.

Rowe Apiaries - bee hive - Sophia Rowe

The hive looks very content, and the bees are not aggressive.

Rowe Apiaries - developing bee colony - Sophia Rowe

Rowe Apiaries - dusting bee colony - Sophia Rowe

Well, now, back to those three colonies. The colony headed by the jittery queen, as I expected, was still growing very slowly. It was growing, but its stores were low, and I suspected that they did replace their queen. It was getting very hot (close to 90F), so I had no time to open them up and inspect them thoroughly, but I made a note for myself to do so next week. I dusted them with cedar sawdust (what I usually use during the summer months to avoid mixing other ingredients with honey), and gave them fresh syrup. The other two colonies were outgrowing their boxes and were ready for expansion. Again, since it was getting too hot, and I had only honey (shallow) supers with honey frames (with plastic foundation), I set a queen excluder and a shallow super on the top of each colony, and made a note for myself to visit them next week and determine if they needed more brood boxes. It is almost the middle of July. The best thing would have probably been to add a medium super, while moving half of the frames from the deep super to the middle one. That is what I would have done in the spring. In the summer, my goal is not to bother the queen and disrupt the egg laying process. As soon as I see that they are building the honey comb on the new foundation and filling it up, I will add a medium super with empty frames for them to grow for another month and a half.

Rowe Apiaries - bee hive ready for expansion - Sophia Rowe

This hive needs to be expanded as soon as possible

Rowe Apiaries - full bee hive - Sophia Rowe

Another beehive ready for expansion

 

 

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