First Inspection

Finally had a nice day and was able to go up and do a partial inspection on the hive.

Lots of bees flying and bringing in pollen and nectar.

The bottom deep still has a few frames of honey, and they have already filled some of the other empty comb with nectar – no brood in here.

The middle deep had at least 3 or 4 frames of capped brood and other frames with eggs and larvae.  I also found some empty queen cups which I destroyed.  There are drones present – but not too many.

The upper medium also has at least 3 or 4 frames of capped brood, eggs, and larvae.

I reversed the boxes so that the bottom deep is now on top and they can fill it with honey.  The deep box that was in the middle is now on the bottom and the medium box is now in the middle.

This hive is so strong and since they are already making queen cups I think I will split this hive within a week.

A new season begins

The combined hive looks to be healthy and active despite the fact that the tar paper winter cover was pretty much gone – probably shredded by high winds.

The quilt box that was filled with sawdust was damp so I removed it, but I didn’t have my smoker so we didn’t inspect the hive.

The bees are already bringing in pollen.


A new home

The swarm that was captured in front of town hall is settling nicely into a new Warré hive out near Aspdin and they have almost finished building out comb in the first box.  The queen was spotted during the last inspection and she is busy laying eggs to build up the new colony.

Warré hive populated from the town hall swarm
Warré hive populated from the town hall swarm


On Sunday a swarm of bees settled into a branch on the pine tree beside the Tom Thompson statue in front of town hall in Huntsville.  Concerned citizens flagged down an OPP officer that was driving by and he contact Craig Nakamoto.IMG_0414 - Version 2 Craig captured the swarm (at least 2/3 of the bees) in a plastic box:

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Then he set up an actual bee hive box below the tree.
IMG_0421 - Version 2 Then he poured the bees in to the hive.IMG_0423 - Version 2

and waited for about 15 minutes and pretty much all of the remaining bees went in to the bee hive.
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Once that was done he strapped up the hive, covered the entrance with screen and drove it out to his bee yard near Aspdin to start a new hive.IMG_0435 - Version 2IMG_0437 - Version 2

Dawn Huddlestone with Doppler wrote a great article about the swarm incident and you can read it here.

Trouble with royalty

Hive #1 is thriving and the new frames of comb are covered with capped brood already.  Looking good and only a few more frames to build out and we will need to add another box.

Here is a photo of one brand new frame of foundationless comb filled with capped brood waiting to emerge.  You can see worker brood on most of the frame, some capped honey in the top corners, and drone comb along the bottom and the bottom corners – it is raised up because the drones are larger and need more room (click on the photo to see a larger version).

fresh foundationless comb and capped brood
fresh foundationless comb and capped brood

Hive #2 is not doing so well.  The queen is weak and barely moving today, and there was some very clear piping coming from the hive.   This is the first time we have seen this queen since we installed the hives two weeks ago.

Although no virgin queens were visible, there were at least half a dozen capped queen cells and one that had already emerged.  It is beyond doubt that the bees have decided that their queen is not strong enough and they are in the process of replacing her.  Luckily the weather looks to be good for the new queen’s mating flight(s).

The new queen will likely kill the old queen and any other new queens that emerge.  She should start mating flights within a week and once she is mated she will start laying eggs within a few days.

Here is a photo showing some queen cells (they look kind of like peanuts) and the one that has already emerged (a worker is cleaning it out right now – large cell on the left, click on the photo to see a larger version).

capped queen cells including one that has emerged already
capped queen cells including one that has emerged already

Busy bees

Both hives have settled down nicely.  Today we went and had a quick peek and here is what we found:

Hive #1 has started building out four of the new empty frames in the hive.  Three of them are more than half full of new comb already and these bees have taken all of the syrup we added a week ago.

Hive #2 is not taking the sugar syrup so we poured it into the feeder on hive #1.  They look like they are doing well but have not started to build out the new frames in the upper deep box at all.

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The bees settle in

The new bees are slowly settling in and hive #2 was ready for a new box of empty frames.

We also added a few litres of sugar syrup to each hive to see if they want it.  There should be enough nectar available without feeding them, but It can help them build out new comb faster – which is a big advantage to a new hive.  Once the hives are established we will try to manage them without any feeding.

The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.