Monday, June 6, 2011

A Quick Check

The Twitchy Bees in my main hive have been very active.  I had added a super a month ago and wanted to be sure they were in good shape and maybe pay their honey tax.  Ed showed up to help and would be paid with the nuc of Beach Bees.  The top super was empty except for a few bees.  The next one down had nine frames of capped comb and one empty frame.  Looking closer all the frames had cross comb. 
These bees had done this before.  I wanted to move some full frames up to encourage the bees to work on the top super but the cross comb kept collapsing. There was no way to remove one frame without cutting into the comb on the adjacent frame.  We took out 3 frames of capped honey and placed empty frames on the outside of the remaining frames..  We cut out the capped honey and put the newly emptied frames into the top super. The bits of comb and frame on those frames may encourage the bees to move up.  We closed that hive and moved on to  Elmer's Bees.

When I set these bees up I added a feeding shim and put some of their old comb with honey on top of the frames.  I did not add this much comb.  The bees had been busy.

The bees decided to use the space and added some comb filled with uncapped honey.  We removed the feeding shim and cleaned off all the burr comb.  I forgot to check the bottom super for remains of the string and rubber bands used to tie the comb in place.  The bees have removed much of it but I might have helped them out some if I looked.  We added a third super and closed the hive.
Ed helped crush the comb we had collected before leaving with his nuc of bees.  I had sealed the night the night before but a lot of bees had gotten out from somewhere in the morning.  I unplugged the nuc and let the do what they wanted all day.  Ed could not wait for dark to take his bees so some bees that had been out foraging were left behind.  This is the cluster that was there the next morning.   A few might slip around the corner and get into the other hives but most are doomed.  Sad to see but there was nothing to do for them. 
Ed's nuc of bees seem to be settling in at his place.  I have a half dozen jars of protein enhanced honey.  Protein enhanced because I did not bother cutting out the drone brood in some of the comb before doing the crush and strain honey collection.   That may account for the honey not being crystal clear but it is very tasty.
If the Twitchy bees manage to fill the top super with straight comb, the next time I will remove all the cross comb and harvest that honey.  Aside from wiring the frames I do not know what else to do with the cross comb frames.  They just seem to like building it that way. 

Thanks to Ed for his help but I also needed a camera person.  I got a few shots but working with the cross comb is very messy and my camera had a honey coat when we were done.
The Bee Housing Tax

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