Of bees and such

I try to keep a bee log (I suppose that could be a more accurate use of the word “blog”). Here is what I have from Winter/Spring 2006-2007:

Finished last season with 13 hives, 3 were swarms I had caught. There was little to no fall honey flow, so I fed the bees the best I could going into the winter. Most hives were very light and not expected to make it. They were all treated with apistan strips and with menthol soaked paper towels Papa gave me.

Lost the 3 swarms before winter had really begun. Lost 2 hives following the first cold snap in December – they had honey, assumed they froze as I found the cluster intact. Lost 2 more hives following a 6 week very cold spell in late January and February – they had stores, assumed they froze as I found the cluster intact.


· checked hives during a warm spell, 4 hives were okay, two were very weak with a handful of bees each. One of the weak hives had some brood and a queen, the other had no queen, so I put them together with newspaper. They joined forces, but were still weak. That leaves 5 hives from the winter.

· Bought 6 hives (brood plus one super) from Gene Pierce in Millers Creek for $80 each. Hives were of varying strengths, but all in good shape with new brood and about 3-4 weeks ahead of mine. Mine had not really broken cluster yet.

· Received 8 packages on March 31. One queen was dead in her cage, so I put that package with the weak hive. Installed the others, 6 with internal section feeder, all with entrance feeders. Fed 15 gallons of syrup over the next two weeks to packages.

· Extreme warm spell the last week or two of March accelerated blooming and all hives were active, though ones from Pierce were very active, looking like the strongest wanted to swarm.

· Two of my wintered hives are very strong with brood rearing in full swing in the bottom brood chamber and two are in good shape, but all in second super, so I swapped the shallow and deep to encourage them back into the deep.

· For the strongest hive, I put a honey super on it and pulled alternating racks up to the new super to try and raise the honey ceiling to prevent swarming. Will see if it has any effect.

· Removed meds from two hives in Mountain City. Swapped the two brood chambers on biggest hive. Bottom board is rotten, need to replace. Both hives are very strong with lots of stores and need space.

· Extreme cold spell after the warm slowed things down.


· When removing queen cages, I discovered two queens were dead. Both in cages, one had been opened, but she was apparently already dead. The other had not been opened. I pulled fresh brood rack from strongest hives and put in two queenless hives, hoping they would make a queen. Brushy Mountain is sending me 3 new queens, so I will put them in upon arrival and check for signs of queen rearing. Will use the extra queen to make a split.

· Put a new bottom board on double deep in Mountain City and added a honey super to the other. Got a speeding ticket on the way to Boone to pick up Margaret, 62 in a 45!

· One of the queenless hives must have a queen from somewhere because it has brood. I added a queen to the other. Used the remaining two queens to make splits, one in a nuc and one in a full hive.


· Added another honey super to my strongest hive from Wilkesboro. Bees were hanging out of the hive even though it already has a brood and two supers, so I added a third.

· The nuc is not doing well. Appears to be making lots of queen cells and I couldn’t find a queen. The split in the full hive is doing well.

· One of the queenless hives appears to have a laying worker. I think they killed the queen I installed. Need to get another queen.

2 replies on “Of bees and such

  • Ben

    Do you need to buy another Queen?

    “If a queen is needed, the hatchling will receive only royal jelly – and in large quantities – as its food source for the first four days of its growth, and this rapid, early feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs.”

    • Daivd

      Hi Philip,I wish I was more tool savvy so that I could make my own follower baords. We buy followe baords made of thicker plywood as we use them as an insulation against the cold, rain, and heat. I should ask my teacher about the thickness of follower baords. My follower baords are the same width though out the design: board, top bar, ears, 3/4 inch (or 1.9 cm). We can fit 9 frames into a box even with these follower baords, but it’s a tight fit so we have reduced it to 8 frames for easier frame removal. It seem fine in our Langs when we were down to 6 frames with the baords surrounding both sides.


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