Saturday, April 10, 2010

More Housing

Both hives have been very active, more so with the Twitchy Bees but there are a lot more of them. On March 14 I had added a third super (all medium) and left them alone since then. I am not a fan of nosing in all the time and they are very good about letting me know they do not enjoy it either.

I popped the cover and found bees on all the frames. The last time I swapped one full frame with an empty in the new super. I was going to do that today but they got very twitchy as soon as my hive tool wiggled the frame. Okay by me, they seem to know what they are doing so I just added super #4 (My Super) and closed the hive. I did not need a bunch of angry bees bothering me as I worked on the Playa Vista hive. (the nice bees.)

The Playa Vista swarm has been working but it is small and still in the cardboard nuc and I wanted to see how they were doing before the next spat of rain hits this weekend, a wise decision.

I moved the nuc over onto a couple empty ones so the working bees would still have some place to go close to the original set up while I did my thing.

The bees had been working very hard, all the frames were full and it looked like they were building an extra frames worth on the side, time to move. That is five frames of comb made and mostly filled in ten day. Count the extra comb and it is six frames. Great bees.

All the frames looked like this. I think I can safely assume the Queen is hard at work. With this many bees on each frame I would have had a hard time looking for eggs and larvae much less Her Majesty. Moving them to larger quarters should take care of any swarm issues.

I placed them in the middle of the super in the order they were removed. With the double wide comb I had to limit things to nine frames. I may cut it down and put it on two frames later.

Even with the cover off the bees still wanted to use the hole on the nuc for queenly access. Very few flew onto the super. When I had started I had an entry restriction board in place but I quickly removed that. Once they know where home is I will put it back. The nuc just has the single hole to defend and it will be easier for them to guard the new hive if I limit the entry size for a while.

Once I laid the empty nuc on its side and got it as close as possible to the entry they bees started to wander over.

Some of the foragers had no problem finding the new digs.

Now both hives have expanded housing and should be happy for a few weeks. Later this afternoon I will remove the empty nuc and other equipment and leave them all alone for a while. I had one other small blessing, the Playa Vista bees are very gentle. They had seemed that way when I captured them but that was back in swarm mode. Now that they have a hive to protect things still have not changed. They are a pleasure to work with. Not at all like the Twitchy Bees, those guys are hot. I would be tempted to go smush the Twitchy Queen and hope for a milder hive but they do produce. They filled a super with wax and comb in just over three weeks. Her Majesty has validated her troops, I will just have to suit up and bring lots of smoke when I work them.

Some time down the road I may have to address another issue all of my making. I let this wild palm tree grow in the middle of my concrete pad. It looks sort of cool but it severely restricts the flight path of the bees. It is almost impossible to work out there in my plants or in the hives without being in their flight patch. This is a big inconvenience and I may have to remove that palm. Maybe I will wait for the winter time when I can seal both hives for most of a day and hire someone to cut it down and not be bothered by bees. That will have to wait for another day and time. For now the bees are happy and working very hard to get me some honey before the middle of summer. That is something to look forward to.

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