I bought a few Cordovan queens from Walter Kelley bees last week. I got two of the three installed in hives. The other one probably ended up being dragon fly food. As soon as I opened the cage,instead of her crawling onto a frame, she flew off into the sunset. I was pretty pissed but there was nothing I could do. It was like watching someone light A $20 bill on fire. The battery on my GoPro was dead so I didn’t get anything on film.
A lot of things have changed since then. I made up two nuc hives from a weaker hive and ende up joining them as they were too weak. They actually made their own queen and she hatched and looked to be doing well. I wont look in on them for another few weeks in the hopes that she will get mated and start laying. The queen I installed in my weakest hive is laying and doing very well.
The swarm I caught a few weeks ago at a strip mall is doing awesome. The queen is laying frames of eggs and the bees seemed to be pretty calm. I opened the hive without smoking them and didn’t have any problems pulling a few frames. They were hived about a week after my hive swarmed but aren’t building up quite as fast as my own swarm. They are in the same place in the yard, they’ve bot been fed at the same rate. Some bees just build up faster than others.
I ordered two more queens a few days ago from a guy in Florida. The queens are Hygenic VSH Italian. Im wanting to add more genetics to my yard for queen rearing. I don’t plan on selling queens as a business, but I want to eventually try to raise queens to have the ability to requeen any hives that need it, and to be able to split hives for increase. For those of you that are curious VSH stands for Varroa sensitive hygiene. These queens have daughters that are very aggressive in keeping the hive free of Varroa mites, including opening closed cells that are infested with mites and dragging the brood out of the hive. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
I also just “closed” my TBH or top bar hive. I had a comb collapse in the 95 degree heat last week. I was afraid that I would have another one collapse and kill another one of the new queens. I love the fact that you watch the bees from the side glass, but the TBH doesnt have very good ventilation and in hot weather its just rough on the bees. So I moved the bars to modified deep hive body, (sort of a Warre hive now I guess) and I might cut the comb out and put it in frames. The queen hasnt started laying yet so im going to wait and see if she starts laying before I do much more to that hive.
Hopefully I will get good video and pics from installing new queens tomorrow. I will be making splits in order to give them a home, so there will be lots to do tomorrow.
I’m still amazed sometimes at how good my cell phone camera is. Sprint Samsung Galaxy S3
A few eggs highlighted from the swarm hive I referenced in the post.
This is the queen from the swarm hive.
I wanted to keep a bar of comb from my TBH, so I pulled it and brought it to my porch. A few bees followed my and are cleaning the honey out of it.
The bees will drain every last drop from every cell in this comb. As you can see in the bottom left, top bar hives are rough on the bees sometimes.
The bees build queen cups on the comb in the event that they have to rear a queen one day.
Side view of queen cup and comb from TBH.
The comb from my top bar hive is in the background, so that was my justification for posting this on a bee blog. I think our cat has an extra joint in her legs. She looks like a meerkat sometimes.