Tuesday, May 22, 2012

hive inspection 5/21

Well there wasn't as much new comb as I was hoping to see. The bees hadn't moved up at all into the upper box, and the comb drawn in the lower box is just as wonky and all over the place as before.  My rubber band and twine mods seem to be holding, and the bees have reattached that comb to the top bars, but they've continued to build cross frame so that you can't pull one frame out without breaking the comb next to it.

I'm wondering if it's an issue of the hive not being level? Next time I will definitely use starter strips at least, to give them a guide for the comb.

The thing is, it's the brood chamber, and although my queen does not apparently care at all about WHERE I want her to build comb, she is actually making lots of brood, and we saw capped honey cells as well. I didn't think it was worth breaking and retying the comb again, since that seemed to set them back so much last time. I'll just leave her alone down there to do her thing and then when I re-super it, I'll use starter strips in the top box to hopefully convince my workers to build the honey comb ON the frames. I'm ambivalent about using a queen excluder - I don't want to discourage them to move up, especially when it gets really hot and they need the space.

I have to admit it was kind of disheartening to do my hive after seeing Todd's super-ultra-healthy bees - they've already almost filled their top box with drawn comb and it's full of brood. The hatched brood comb is being used for pollen storage and there's a ring of capped honey around the central brood comb on most of his frames. It was good to see such a healthy hive though - I know what my bees need to look like in a few weeks, hopefully.

I also need to address the leaks in my roof- more caulking and sealant. It looks like the quilt box did not completely insulate the hive interior and things were definitely dampish in the upper box. I've got to fix that- they definitely won't move up into a leaky house.

Another priority is to get some more bee-favorites in the yard before August/September, when their honey flow starts to slow down and they'll need some food. Anyone have any suggestions for things that bloom in Texas in August?

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