Friday, July 15, 2011


Wow, I haven't said anything about the bees in quite a while. I had to go back and reread my previous post to remember what has been going on.

First I had better apologize for not including any pictures. Chris and the kids have left me home alone for a couple of weeks and took the camera with them. You will have to try to see it all in you mind's eye.

Let's see... When I last posted about a month ago I was checking on the bees a while after Georgia swarmed. We were waiting for Georgia's new queen to start laying eggs. While she did not have any eggs there were still a lot of bees. I had put a honey super on each hive and found that Virginia was storing some nectar up there but Georgia had not stored any.

The alfalfa and Russian olive bloom started on about June 20th. White dutch clover that shows up in so many yards started blooming shortly before. I had put a second super on each hive in anticipation of this big nectar flow and hoped that the bees would fill them up. At the end of June we left town for a while. (I came back after ten days but Chris and the kids are still gone.) Before we left I decided to throw on a third super just to make sure they would have room- I was feeling pretty optimistic. I also checked the brood boxes and found that Virginia now had no eggs (she may have swarmed) and Georgia now had a laying queen.

I arrived back home and found that Virginia had filled all 3 supers 75-90% with nectar! I was very excited and quickly threw on a fourth super. Virginia still had no eggs, however. If she did swarm earlier it might have been too early for her new queen to start laying. I will have time in a few days to check on her again. If I still don't find any eggs I will be ordering a new queen from a supplier. I think I would like to try a Russian queen this time if I can.

After seeing how much nectar Virginia had collected I was excited to look into Georgia. Much to my disappointment Georgia's supers were completely empty. As I removed the last super I discovered that the queen excluder was almost completely clogged with wax and propolis. The bees had effectively sealed off the honey supers- they couldn't have stored nectar there if they had wanted to. I also found that they were back filling the broodnest with honey. There were still eggs and uncapped brood, but there wasn't much room for the queen to lay. I removed the excluder, cleaned it out (placing the excluder on several layers of newspaper and then going after it with a hairdryer is a pretty quick way to clean it out), and put it back in the hive. Maybe I should have kept it out- I guess we will find out in a few days. I am hoping the bees will move all that nectar/honey in the broodnest up into the super and give the queen a little more room to lay.

I removed two of the empty supers from Georgia and will put them back on as they are needed. The two hives are not looking very symmetrical right now as one hive is standing tall with four supers and the other is stunted with just one.


earth sky sea said...

hi, photos really do make a difference but i enjoyed reading your update anyway. You have some great photos on your site - speaking of which, my friend Georgie has a bee photo give away at her blog Bees hive - the house of all things bee - that is where i found your blog to.

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