Hive Inspection 5/19

Nice hot day for a hive inspection. Somehow, all days in Maryland are hot now. Especially when you’re wearing a veil, long-sleeved shirt and jeans.

Melissa:

Top medium: completely unused.

Second medium (foundationless): 4 brood, 2 frames not built out, one starting to be worked one and the other a little more than the last.

Third medium, outside frames are all pollen and brood, remainder all brood and honey mixed. What’s interesting is that there are not many frames of just honey, actually not any from what I can recall.

Bottom deep: pollen frame, really nothing in here still. This is a bit maddening to tell you the truth. I can’t decide if it’s the combination of starting as a smaller hive and having the skunk attacks decimate it further that is weakening it or if I need a new queen.

Demeter:

Top shallow (plastic foundation): 3 frames capped honey, but they’re building the comb into the the space of the abutting frame, taking up the space of both frames! You can’t pull out a frame without essentially shaving half of the capped honey comb.

Top medium (foundationless): 7 frames capped honey.

Second medium: All built out, filling in with honey where the brood has emerged. Probably 1/2 brood and honey in this box.

Top deep: Saw the queen, Queen Penelope is the same and still marked! Lots of brood, so much brood. Brood everywhere. Outside frames of honey and pollen, the remainder was open and capped brood. Saw a frame filled with perfect capped brood, took it out for Melissa and replaced it with a wax foundation frame. I knocked most of the bees off of the frame since they would be stranger bees and Melissa’s bees will likely fight them. There were only a few bees left on the brood frame, I don’t know if they were nurse bees or not: nurse bees are not usually harassed by the accepting hive. Thank you Queen Penelope for donating about 7000 bees to Melissa! The BUZZING was LOUD!!!!!! They were NOT HAPPY!

Update: I checked Melissa yesterday and I saw the queen! She was the same as last year, still marked, big and beautiful. So I added the frame of capped brood last week to that very neglected deep. Well the center bees emerged and Queen Maria laid eggs in the cells!!!! YAY! She’s using the bottom deep, so adding the frame helped I hope. I reversed the hive bodies to put the 2 mediums on the bottom and the mostly empty deep on top. I’ll check Melissa every week, but leave Demeter alone for the most part.

That brood pattern is just what you want to see: if the center of the brood emerges first then those eggs were laid first and the queen moved out in a spiral as she should. Happy me.

Demeter has 4 frames capped in the shallow now. I took off the empty medium from Melissa, added it above the brood nest on Demeter. Demeter now has 4 supers. Of the 3 supers that were originally there, they were filled with the equivalent of almost 2 supers of capped honey with more frames being worked on. I added Melissa’s unused medium to Demeter because Demeter is clearly filling up the frames very quickly. Don’t want them to swarm!

The configuration from the bottom up is as follows:

Melissa: Medium, medium, deep.

Demeter: Deep, deep, medium, medium, medium, shallow. OH MY!

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