Honeybee journal entry

Here is what I found in today’s inspection:

Tango hive:  (new top bar hive)

Humid inside!  I need to drill some ventilation holes in the bottom, and maybe another entrance hole.  There is comb drawn on 7 bars, 5 of which are completely drawn.  Some capped honey is on the end, but otherwise it’s relatively light on nectar–the bees have been using it to generate wax.  This is fine now, but it means that I’ll need to feed them through the bloom dearth that hits in late May.  Capped brood is visible, with a lot of eggs.  The queen has been busy.  I did see her but I had not set out to find her.

I removed the empty syrup can which came with the package.

Oscar hive:  (observation hive)

The frame behind the window has not been maintained by the nurse bees.  A few come up to feed the brood, but not enough.  Many of the cells have larva that are dry.  Many eggs did not hatch because they got chilled for lack of nurse bees and were removed 4 days after the frames were put in.  A host of drones had been stuck last week behind the queen excluder between the top window and the bottom 5 frame nuc box.  I released them, and the kids caught many of them as pets.  They are now inside the house in various tube & cardboard cages.

At least 7 capped queen cells were in the bottom 5 frames.  Hooray!  I moved one frame up to the top position, so I can see when she hatches out.

24 hour mite drop on Wednesday evening, 4/21 was 18 mites.  Contact paper was not sticky enough to hold the mites, so the next day I used a plastic board coated with coconut oil, which seems to work better.  A 30 window yielded 13 mites Friday morning, 4/23.

It was a little tricky getting the access tube re-attached to the hive when I finished because it was full of workers trying to get back “home”.  No major problems, and only 3 bees were released inside the house.  They were promptly squished.

Alpha hive:  (The original queen & half the frames that I split from)

The bees have pulled comb and completely filled two of the empty frames I put in last Friday.  Worker brood, drone brood, eggs, capped honey, nectar & pollen are there in abundance.  I have them in 2 western boxes now, but they have not yet moved down into the bottom box.  All looks great here.

Bravo hive:  (one of the new nucleus hives; 5 frames of a western box with a separate entrance)

Well populated with young bees, and even many foragers coming and going.  It is adjacent to the original alpha hive, and has benefited from “drift” from the returning foraging worker bees.  3-6 queen cells visible, some open and some capped.  One was broken open because it was attached to adjacent frames–I’m glad there were spares!  This also looks very good with stores of honey, nectar, pollen.  There are a lot of capped drone brood.

Charlie hive: (the 2nd of the new nucleus hives)

Same as bravo hive above, except I didn’t inspect the last two frames which I could see had been waxed together by the bees.  There were a couple of queen cells in frame #3, and I expect there are several others in the last two frames.  I didn’t want to risk breaking them.  All looks great on this one too.

Notes:

Overcast but fairly warm ~60F.  Inspection done at 12:30 PM.

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