Friday, May 25, 2012

the buzz from the beehouse.....

BIG CHANGES in my bees lives last evening.  With the help of another beekeeper.....we did some MAJOR SPLITTING.

About 3 weeks ago, I with the dog and cat were "minding our own business" over by the beehouse.  The little black cat not knowing any better, jumped up and bumped against one of the hives.  IMMEDIATELY two bees were lodged and frenzied in his collar!!!  I jerked him off the platform...he ran, I ran, the dog ran toward the house.....with my gloves on - I tried CRUSHING the bees in his fur to get them to stop/prevent? stinging.  I don't know if they got him - but I think they did.  He was pretty wiped out for the rest of the day.

Also about this time - 3 weeks ago.  I thought to myself - I don't like they way the hives SMELL.  They smelled like DIRTY SOCKS....immediately I started searching around the books and the web for foulbrood info.  I was wondering if that's why they were "sensitive".  What was disconcerting to me about their behavior was that they FOLLOWED US ALL THE WAY TO THE HOUSE - behavior SO UNLIKE honey bees....they usually give up sooner.

LAST EVENING - I FINALLY "tackled" my troubled hives.  I was DREADING it - putting it off.  I invited another beekeeper - just to keep the smoke going.

TURNS OUT...we had NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!  and of course - they were DOCILE and back to being their lovely selves. ?????  no stings....

The 4th and 5th boxes in the pic were 3 highs....we'll call them the MOTHER HIVES.

WHAT WE FOUND......swarm cells GALORE!  opened & capped  If I had to guess....20...25...30????  We had virgin-queens hatching from their cells as soon as we'd cut them out!  How many DIDN'T we see/find????
WHAT WE DIDN'T FIND....foulbrood - capped brood looked as pretty as ever.
CONCLUSION....They were cranky from the swarm cell/requeening situation.  The "dirty sock" smell must just be whatever pollen/nectar source they're bringing in.  In the fall - GOLDENROD & ASTERs make the hives smell foul.  We did note the EXCEEDINGLY BRIGHT YELLOW debris/pollen on the sticky board/screened bottom board.

RE: SPLITS.  We did what I call: FRANKEN SPLITS.  We robbed frames full of bees and swarm cells from "whichever" hive/box and made them nice new nests.

So - will these hives still swarm?  maybe.  maybe even probably - extra equipment on standby:)  Could we/should we have made more splits? COULD have!

MAY THE BEST QUEEN REIGN....  it's nature.

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