Saturday, August 7, 2010

Eggs In The Honey Supers

Eggs in the honey supers? Eggs do not belong in the honey supers, but that is where I found them today. Actually, laying eggs up in the honey supers is not wrong, but I would rather that the queen stay down in the deep hive bodies and reserve the honey supers for "my" honey.

As I went through the honey supers I found that Georgia still has a lot of uncapped honey. I hope the bees get busy and cap it all off during this next month. Georgia does have the bottom super (directly above the broodnest) full of capped honey. At least it was until a couple of weeks ago. The bees have been emptying the honey out of the bottom half of the center frames in the bottom super. It looked like they were making the brood nest bigger for the queen to lay. I had removed the queen excluders from the hives earlier this year because queens are not supposed to cross capped honey. Since I had capped honey in the bottom supers I thought that removing the excluders would encourage the workers to move up and make more honey. Anyway, since the queen excluder had been removed and the bees emptied the honey out of some of the frames, the queen moved up and laid a bunch of eggs in the honey super. I made sure the queen was not in the super and put the queen excluder back on. This will keep the queen from laying any more eggs up there. Now I will be able to extract honey after the brood from the existing eggs emerges without getting baby bees in the honey.

I did not inspect any more of Georgia's broodnest. During the last inspection I discovered that Georgia is now queen right and I have decided not to dig down into the broodnest anymore this summer. I don't want to take a chance on causing any more queen problems.

Last week I took Virginia's newest honey super full of empty frames and put it down in the 2nd honey super position. So there is one honey super full of capped honey directly above the brood nest and the new empty super directly above that. My thinking was that, even if there was not time this summer for the bees to store honey in this super, if the bees could at least draw some comb then this super would have a head start next summer. I figured that moving the super down closer to the majority of the bees would facilitate faster comb production. I had removed the queen excluder from Virginia as well as I expected the super of capped honey to serve as Virginia's excluder. When I finally made it down to the empty super, I found that the bees had been busy drawing comb. It was not complete but they had made a good start.

Here is a photo of the new comb in the empty super.
The preceding photo shows some nice white new comb but does not show what I was actually looking at. This next photo is a close up of the same frame. Look at what is inside the cells. Eggs! I thought these frames would be safe from the queen with all the capped honey directly below it. The next photo shows what the queen had to cross to lay those eggs.

That capped honey is beautiful, isn't it? Apparently capped honey will not contain a queen if she wants to get to the other side. After Virginia's inspection I put the queen excluder back on her as well. I really don't want to have to deal with brood in the honey supers come extraction time.

Last time I inspected Virginia her new queen hadn't been around for long. She had been laying eggs, but they were pretty scattered. She hadn't quite gotten her legs under her yet. I went through her brood nest today, and it looks like she has settled down nicely. I saw several frames in both the upper and lower deep hive bodies with nice tight brood patterns. It does feel good to have both hives queen right again.

There has been something interesting going on with Virginia's hive this summer. I don't' know if it is common or rare, but I was not expecting it. You see both of our hives have screened bottom boards and sit side by side on a solid platform. It appears as though some of Virginia's bees have gone underneath the hive and attached comb to the underside of the screened bottom board. Here is a photo looking down in to the hive at the comb underneath.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture- the camera had a hard time deciding what to focus on. This comb is actually running side to side- at a 90 degree angle to the frames above it. There is not a lot of space under there, and I assume they are storing honey in the comb. In this next photo you can see some of the bees coming and going from the side.

There are a couple of bees there fanning the entrance.

The bees were extremely calm today. I think it was probably because they are both finally queen right. I have wondered though if smoker fuel affects the bees' mood during inspections. Last summer I used cedar chips as my fuel and this summer I bought a bag of shredded recycled cardboard. With the cardboard fuel the bees have been cranky all summer. Besides that the cardboard smoke is stinky and leaves a lot of creosote gunking up the top of the smoker. I switched back to cedar chips today- cedar smoke just smells so good.


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