Friday, July 26, 2013

The bad, the good, and the ugly. Aka- the bees have swarmed.


Well, if you've been paying attention to the blog, you know that a little over two weeks ago our bees were bearding and seemed to be getting ready to swarm. It appeared as though they had moved into the second box, and we decided to add a third box to give them more space. The ultimate goal being to have at least two full boxes of honey comb on which the bees could over winter. Well, on Tuesday of this week, I headed out to my parents' house to check on our bees. Hoping and pretty much expecting to see our bees filling out the second box and settling in with the third box we added. This, unfortunately, was NOT the case as you can see in the video below.

So, quick recap of the news:
- Bad news, the bees have swarmed.
- Good news, our bait hive worked and we caught the bees.
- Ugly news, the bait hive, which started out level, no longer is and we will probably have to deal with cross combing or at the very least crooked combs as we move them to their new home.

What's the plan now?

In the video I mentioned recombining the hive back into one. I had thought this would be the best idea, as we're shooting for two full Warre boxes to overwinter our bees. I find it unlikely at this point that the bees, if kept separate, will make it to two full boxes. However, I wanted another opinion. I decided to contact Sam from Bee Crazy and ask his advice. If you've read my posts or watched my videos, you've probably heard me mention this excellent resource. Sam was gracious enough to answer my questions and offer some advice. You can see our conversation at his site here.

Bottom line. I'm going to head out to my parents' later today. I've got two extra Warre boxes, I'll build a couple more along with another base, roof, and quilt, and then we'll move the bees from the bait hive to their new home. I'll the two hives (our original and our new swarm hive) grow and develop separately and see how their doing come this fall. If it appears they might be strong enough to winter on their own, we'll leave them apart. If, on the other hand, they seem weak, we'll attempt at that point to combine them.

Thanks also to Sam for answering my question about the white stuff on the plexiglass. It is, apparently, just wax. That's what my hunch was, it just wasn't there initially, and I was worried it might be some sort of mold or something. Sam's explanation of WHY they were starting to put was on the hive walls was helpful, however. He mentioned that it often starts appearing as the hive gets ready to swarm. Basically, the colony thinks they're out of room (even though they weren't) and the wax producing bees start putting wax on the walls of the hive instead of being productive and building usable comb in the empty space they do have available. I'll try to keep an eye out for this in the future as the white specks started appearing a few weeks before the bees were bearding, before (I thought) they had moved down into the second box.

I'll let you know how it goes and hopefully post some video later tonight or tomorrow!

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