Monthly Archives: August 2012

No More Brood in the Honey

We’ve waited two weeks for the brood in the honey super to hatch and this morning we did a check of the frames with capped brood. It’s all been filled in with lovely, dark honey, and much of it has been capped, which means they plan to store it for winter rather than use it right away. That’s good because it means they have plenty for immediate use as well.

The bees had built a section of comb connecting two frames, which I removed during out last inspection. To make sure I know who’s really in charge of the hive, they have not only rebuilt the comb connecting the frames, but also added serpentine-shaped comb between the bottoms of the frames and the queen excluder. Hial reminded me that my sense of order is not the same as their sense of order.

The metal grate is the queen excluder separating the honey super from the brood chamber. The bees have other ideas about its purpose, apparently.

Before I can inspect the brood chamber again, I’ll have to scrape all that crazy comb off the queen excluder. I guess I’ll also need to make sure they put so much comb there that it blocks access between the boxes.

Since they have filled the first honey super already, we added a second super today. Our hive is growing beautifully for it’s first year. The weather conditions were perfect this year for starting a hive. We added the first honey super on June 20 and they built all the comb and filled it in about two months. We’ll see if they manage to fill the new super by the end of summer.

The hive with a deep hive body at the bottom and a brood chamber above it, followed by one full and one empty honey super.

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Late Afternoon in the Summer Sun

I love watching the hive from the house in the late afternoon. The sun is not quite below the tree line and is shining through the mass of bees going in and out as they take advantage of the last couple of hours of daylight. The sunshine catches on their wings and makes them looks like drops of gold darting through the air. Here’s a short video Hial took this afternoon.

Tomorrow morning I’m adding a second honey super and doing a quick check of the first super to see if they’ve filled the cells that had brood two weeks ago.

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Brood in the Honey

Three weeks ago, the bees were starting to draw a bit of comb in their new honey super. I’ve been eager since then to see how it’s coming along. When I added the honey super, I did not put in the queen excluder – a screen through which worker bees may pass but is too small for the queen to pass – because many experienced bee keepers said the bees would probably not use the super. They had also said the queen most likely would not lay eggs in it because she can really only lay enough to maintain two large chambers. Today would be the test of that advice.

The first frame was completely filled with beautiful amber-colored honey and the next several frames were fully drawn with comb and at least 50% filled with honey. So far so good.

Some of the bees on this frame look like a bee-wreath as they are working on making and storing honey.

Another frame with bees working in groups.

Then I checked the sixth frame: and there was capped brood! In my honey super. Didn’t they know it was only for storing honey so I could spread it on toast? The next three frames also had lots of capped brood in the middle like this one.

Also, that frame was apparently not spaced perfectly because they build a bit of line of comb perpendicular to the frame and connecting two frames together. I carefully cut out that part and tried to make sure the frame was spaced better when we finished.

It looks like they’re making a new wall to divide the frame.

I definitely do not want eggs and larvae in any honey I collect, so I put the queen excluder under the honey super. The brood will all hatch but the queen won’t be able to lay more eggs there and hopefully the bees will fill in the empty cells with honey as summer progresses.

I will add another honey super in a week or so since they’ve done such a fabulous job of filling this one.

Since the queen is obviously still laying and in good production, I did not inspect the brood chamber.

Hial loves to watch the bees doing stuff with pollen packs. This packet was on top of one of the frames and the bee was moving it around.

 

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