Monday, April 22, 2013
4 out 5 survivors
Hind-site is always 20/20...
What happened to "Pandora" this year's dead hive (last year's MOTHER hive).
Sometime around harvest or after - I believe Pandora and her SISTER hive went queenless. Why - don't know. I've suspected these last years that this bee breed in my boxes likes to supersede in fall (I've been splitting my survivor stock for three years now - my "original" stock going back to Bee-Weaver All Stars....six, seven years ago) Is their queenlessness due to a supersedure gone wrong?
I caught Pandora's Sister's queenlessness last fall - and combined her boxes/workers with two other hives (one being this year's strong hive ...and the other one's not too bad either)
But Pandora went into winter as a queenless hive...and as a result....what do I find this spring? Not a bee in the box. The hive is packed full of honey and pollen - all three deeps. Nicely cleaned out for me. I set these frames aside for spits or starting another hive. I'm hoping for at least one swarm catch this year.
As you can see - I have one REALLY STRONG hive coming out of winter (shown). I've renamed this one "NASTY HIVE". They're really really cranky, clingy - not in a friendly way. The slightest movement or noise around them sets them off. I'm really glad I saved this one for LAST when I cleaned out hives/bottom boards/hive body switched this weekend. I split this hive - even though I had second thoughts about propagating "nasty" genes....
Everyone got cleaned out, switched, and pollen pattied (the first year I'm trying this). one cluster is VERY small. I put them back in the bottom position and took my best frames and made them a new top box to grow into. I DID discover with this small cluster - they had a BAD NOSEMA outbreak sometime during the winter....I BURNED 10 of their frames. Not that you have to burn nosema frames - I did because - I didn't want the spores on the equipment...and/or - I don't want them "getting back into it" - reinfecting themselves. This cluster is going to get a small treatment of powdered sugar/fumagilinB.
ANOTHER VERY INTERESTING thing I found in cleaning. I use - screened bottom boards. Primarily around the perimeter of the screen/wood....PROPOLIS-ed COCOONS. cocoons of wax moth?