Welcome to Eddie O Bee Adventure


This should be interesting. I have no experience in beekeeping, except what I can glean from others.

For timeline . . . the install date will be April 22, 2012

Please comment. I need all the help I can get!

Eddie O.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

+5 Days: Holy Comb in the Wrong Places!!!!! First Inspection 3/27/12

All I can say is wow!!!  I am +5 days since install of 3 lb packages

I started with the first of two hives. We call this one "Busy Bee".

My 9 year-old enjoyed lighting the smoker with pinestraw while I got everything ready for the first inspection. All day, the upcoming inspection kept popping into my mind about what to do. During lunch, I visited several sites including Linda's Bees and some others for some quick advice.

I piddled for a couple of minutes after the obligatory 3 puffs of smoke at the entrance. I puffed the inner over and waited another minute. The bees buzzing roared and stayed there during the rest of the inspection. I took off the top cover and placed it upside down on the ground. Using the unfamiliar hive tool, I gently pried the inner cover off and lifted it up . . . and it had a mass of bees attached to it about an inch thick and approx the size of my hand. They spread like thick pancake batter and revealed the queen! What is she doing here? . . in a mass attached to the inner cover? What do I do now?

Why was the queen in this mass attached to the inner cover?
UPDATE: (this is called "Balling?")

The queen was revealed as the mass spread
(she is in the middle with yellow dot)
Another picture of her:

I coaxed her back onto one of the frames below . .  careful!

OK, so this totally threw me off, but I settled down and knew I needed to verify if she was viable queen . .  so I pressed on.

You can see the empty zip-loc and small riser for the zip-lock feeder . . ..
 . . .remember this dimension for later

During my installation, I left a frame out by mistake. I figured this out a day later when I found a random frame leaning against the hive .  . . I decided to wait until the first inspection rather than bother them. I was worried about what they would do with the extra space:

You can see the comb they built with the extra
space that I accidentally gave them

Here is another view of the comb and queen cage in the background:

I removed this comb ( it had eggs in it)

I checked all of the frames and found many eggs in a regualr pattern. They were very difficult to see against the yellow plastic foundation. I'll never buy yellow again. The other hive was black.

I figured that one was pretty rough and for some reason felt the "Big Bee" hive was going to be a lot better. . .  boy was I wrong . . . Holy comb in the wrong place!!!!

Ready to open Hive#2: "Big Bee" . .  Holy Comb!

I took off the inner cover and here is what I saw: Comb filled with sugar syrup top to bottom . . the small riser was from Brushy Mountain specifically for bag feeding.

They built 3 combs from top to bottom
And here's a shot of the underside of the inner cover:

underside of inner cover  . . . the comb attached
to the previous picture
 I was unsure what to do with this comb and took a guess that I should remove it since it would be a mess if they decided to produce brood in this comb. I'll have to ask Beesource this question.

My gut was telling me to just remove all of this comb. Fortunately, I was also installing a slatted bottom board, thus I was able to scrape all of this sugar syrup filled comb into the space provided by this new addition. It was still leaking everywhere. Later, I went back several times to see if it produced a frenzy and everything looked pretty normal.

After all of this, it looks like we have a very good queen: with the black foundation, you can really see all of the eggs very clearly.

I'm afraid that that my bees with become very defensive after all of this intrusion.

Thus . .  lessons learned:
  1. Don't forget to add all of the frames back when you install bees
  2. I should have installed the 1 gallon zip-locs instead of the quart ones since they were totally gone
  3. Puff the smoker every so often
  4. The black foundation is the way to go--the yellow makes the eggs very difficult to see.
Questions: (I'll ask the Beesource Members)
  1. Why would the Queen be in a cluster attached to the inner cover? (I read on Beesource that is is called "Balling" but she is laying eggs in regular pattern?
  2. Why would they build comb in the space where my zip-loc feeder was?

 And finally it looks like the queen is a good queen with quite a few eggs.

1 comment:

  1. they are not balling her or she'd be dead. Bees/attendants surrounding their queen to take care of her.
    Because of the space and feed they have decided to build there in that space provided by the large rim you place above, instead of using the plastic foundation they do not like much. Some swear by plastic foundations, i (and others)still do not believe in it. It's a question of faith: to each their own !!!