Monday, April 22, 2013

4 out 5 survivors

4 out of 5 surviving the winter of 2012-2013.

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?

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