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Jezza

Jezza's Hive Blog

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I did my second hive inspection over the weekend, this time with a helper to take photos.

 

Here's my take on the inspection using the STATE of the hive suggest by @Rob Stockley via @Dave Black :

 

Stores: There was a few frames full of nectar or capped, the colony had added at least a frame of nectar since my visit a week ago. Lots more pollen than on my last inspection and when I watched the hive during day over the weekend lots of pollen was coming in.

 

Title: Lots of eggs on a number of frames, and I believe I saw the Queen in one of the photos (highlighted below).

 

All: Eggs, small larvae, large larvae, capped brood, and the first drones were emerging.

 

Trouble: I saw my first mite on the bottom board. I was actually quite sad, I guess we all like to think our hives are mite free, especially since the parent hive received an Apivar treatment in Spring, and a Bayvarol treatment as a swarm / nuc. The mote was alive and when I poked it and it ran a little way over the board, which to me is a good endorsement for screened bottom boards, this mite would be back on a bee otherwise.

 

The main thing I am worried about is the brood pattern, I think it could be 1 of 3 things. A poorly mated Queen, lack of space when a nuc - requiring the queen to go back and fill in spots that had older brood and stores removed, or finally: the beekeeper I got the hive from said that the parent hive quite regularly removed cappings from brood and removed the pupae. I'll check the pattern once some frames are drawn out in the second box, and make a decision from there.

 

Also the space between the lid and the hive mat was covered in ants. I think they changed their plan from building their nest under the hive to on top of the hive. I destroyed as much of their constructions as I could and when I checked the next day there wasn't an ant to be seen, I didn't see any in the hive during my inspection. Hopefully they are a bit sick of having their nest destroyed every week.

 

I also saw a wasp trying to carry off a dying bee, it got the squish treatment but now I'll have to keep an eye out of robbing by wasps - I've seen a few bumble bees hanging around, but none brave enough to enter the hive - insect wars!

 

Expansion: I was really surprised about this. The bees hadn't drawn out a single frame in the second box. What they had done is draw and fill the two (poorly waxed and wired) outer frames of the bottom box with nectar and eggs! I thought the bees would definitely gone up rather than out. Anyway two frames drawn by an 8 frame colony in a week is fine by me.

 

Should I swap the boxes around next weekend if the second box is still untouched and the lower box is looking packed?

 

Apologies for the quality of some of these photos, we hadn't got our angles right:

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upload_2015-12-14_11-37-37.png.9ea8299450f876bf5c9bd285e12628fb.png

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[doublepost=1450047156,1450046735][/doublepost]I believe the Queen is there:

 

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upload_2015-12-14_11-25-26.png.6a80f5877439a74b486edfb556cfb932.png

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Looking pretty good.

 

Yes, the brood pattern is a bit patchy, but it's not an unusual pattern in a hive of this age/size at this time of the year. That's because until they decide to go up, there's probably a bit of a sense of compression in the hive, of not having enough drawn comb... which can lead to the workers putting nectar in any available cell, eg, a just emerged cell, which means the queen can't lay in it and you end up with what looks like a brood pattern problem.

 

Check if there is nectar in those empty cells - if so, I wouldn't worry about it, they'll sort themselves out.

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Thank you for commenting, I appreciate the input / advice.

 

When she does get a good chunk of space she lays a nice pattern, no missed cells.

 

One of the newly drawn frames on the outside of the box had a lot of nectar in it, but she'd laid a fist sized set of eggs down the bottom, not a single gap I could see. I did also see some pollen and nectar mixed in with the capped brood. So I'll wait till next week and check again.

 

If things are still looking full in a week, and they haven't drawn out anything in the second box should I swap the boxes around? Or no point doing this?

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When she does get a good chunk of space she lays a nice pattern, no missed cells.

 

 

there you go, then. :)

 

I don't tend to panic about switching things around... they'll go when they're ready. If you want to do something though, don't swap the boxes - they'll go up much more readily than they'll go down. Just move one frame of brood up from the middle of the brood nest to the middle of the box of foundation above, replacing it with a frame of foundation below. At this time of the year temps are so good they'll handle that easily.

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I'm happy to wait for them to decide it's time to build up.

 

Thanks again, I was a bit worried as I looked through the photos yesterday.

 

Have I picked out the Queen correctly?

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Once brood pattern is a bit patchy, for whatever reason to begin with, it can stay that way for a few rounds of brood rearing, particularly if your queen is a good layer. One round of uneven emerging, leads to another as the freshly cleaned cells are laid in straight away.

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