Sunday, June 19, 2016

Trying to Prevent a Swarm

Of which I'm sure the neighbors would approve.

After contacting the beekeeping forum in my area it is possible that either (a) Queen Beatrix isn't dead but is getting ready to swarm or (b) she is dead and the bees are making a new queen and getting ready to swarm. Either way, the important part is "getting ready to swarm." This is something that I unrealistically hoped I wouldn't have to deal with. Regardless, the advice was to make more room in the hive and create a nuc, or smaller colony, with the queen cells so that they would have a new place to go and the hive would have less incentive to swarm.

While I'm waiting for my nuc box to arrive, there wasn't any time to spare as they could hatch a new queen and swarm any day. So I converted a paper box to my purposes: created ledges on which the top bars would rest, covered the side holes and cut out a door.

Nuc Box
After opening the hive, even though the bees were very active, they were clearly in a better mood than two days ago. Maybe because I wasn't being as destructive? Not sure. Regardless, I moved some open honey combs and some brood combs, with pollen as best as I could find, into the box and then found a comb with a queen cell on it and installed it. As I was moving combs around in the hive one of the queen cells fell off but it wasn't damaged so I moved the whole chunk into the bottom of the nuc box. That ultimately got closed up and placed on top of the hive with the ventilation roof on top of that in case it rains. The temporary nuc box is cardboard, after all.

In the hive, I moved everything forward and found a few interesting things. For example, a comb that had absolutely no top bar. That's currently sitting in a bowl under the hive in the hopes that the bees eventually leave it at nightfall and I can get the honey out of it. Also, a small colony of large ants living behind the false back. As soon as I released them, the bees attacked them with a loud and angry buzzing. It was amazing to watch.
Sting count: 0
Total sting count: 4

1 comment:

  1. I got one pint of honey from that comb which is set aside in case the hive needs it back.

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