Rowe Apiaries - queen laying in honey supers

Bee packages – Part IV -Season 4

This is a continuation of my posts on the three new bee colonies, which I started from packages this year. In the last week of July, I always schedule a mid-summer check-up for my beehives. We still have a very productive month of August ahead of us, so it is time to check on honey supers and dust the colonies. The important thing is not to dust the honey supers. If I see that the colony is not overflowing from the hive, some bees have deformed wings or there are more than three small hive beetles scurrying around, I use a heaving dusting of ground wormwood and cedar sawdust. Otherwise, I use cedar sawdust.

Usually, it goes just as planned, but this year, I found that two of my queens have escaped from their brood chambers and settled in the middle of the honey supers. Well, actually, only one of them settled down. The other found her way back into the brood chamber… Why did it happen? I am afraid it was because of the poor quality of my queen excluders. We will be buying more queen excluders with wood frames now.

So, here is my honey colony in a double deep super. They still had a problem with ants, and this time I dusted the inner covers with cedar sawdust. The queen of this hive temporarily moved into the honey super. There was one super with lots of honey and just a few cells with sealed brood. Since she had already moved out (there were no eggs or larva on any other frames), I did not move any frames. Had I found eggs or larva, I would have looked until I found the queen in my shallow super. Then, I would have move her and the honey frames with the brood and eggs down into the deep super. There are always a few frames on the edges that can be replaced and the rest of the frames moved around to accommodate for that. I inspected the frames and dusted the colony. I moved some frames from the lower shallow super (not the one with the sealed brood) into the top honey super and made a note to check on the honey stores in ten days. I did take some supers with sealed honey to process this time, as we are running low on fresh honey. It usually takes about ten days in August for one honey super to be filled.

 

The beehives started from packages this year are doing very well. I had to install additional honey supers to the two of the three.

Rowe Apiaries Rowe Apiaries

 

The third one, after getting fed until recently, was finally ready for the first honey super as well. How did I know that the colony was finally ready? As you can see from the pictures, the super is full of bees; the comb extends all the way to the top; and even the inner cover has wax comb built on the bottom and the top. When I see that the inner cover has a comb built, I immediately add supers. I only use medium frames in the deep supers, so that the bees build as low as they like. Also, I never keep the bottom pan during the warm months, so they don’t get overheated. Still, there is always a chance for swarming when not careful, and it did happen to me before, when my colonies were not properly ventilated!

Rowe Apiaries Rowe Apiaries - hive cover - Sophia Rowe

What did I do with that one colony started from a package, which had a queen in their honey super? I found the queen (she was the same one shipped with the package). She is down below under the letter “e”, on the picture. I, then, simply moved the queen excluder on the top, placing another honey super on top. Hopefully, I will acquire better queen excluders soon.

Rowe Apiaries - queen bee - Sophia Rowe

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