Bees: Growing Hives

 

 

It has been almost two months since we have captured our first swarm, a month and a half since we captured our second, and a week since we installed a nuc into our third hive. So here is a quick update with some pictures.

We have been opening these hives on average every 5-7 days since we wanted to keep a close eye on them and see how they are progressing. This is our first time owning bees so we had no idea what to expect and what kind of progress bees were capable of making. It took them a little longer to grow the hive than I would have thought. The last time I inspected the hives, the first swarm had built up about 75% of the frames with comb so I went ahead and added another deep hive box on top to give them more room to expanded. The second swarm hive had only built up 60% of the frames so they will probably take another week or two until they are ready for another box.

Beekeepers that we have talked to have always said to start off with two hives so you can compare them to better understand how they are doing. That advice couldn’t be more true! Both of our hives seem healthy, however hive one consumes about 30% less sugar water (we feed them through an entrance feeder) and seems to be storing their sugar water. Hive number two consumes much more than one and stores almost none of it. It is strange to me how two different hives can be so different.

The brood patterns in both hives look great. Hive number two seems to have a few more drone cells than hive one and they also made a few queen cells but there was not any larvae in them. On the first inspection of the second hive we didn’t find the queen, but on the next inspection we did and we marked her.

I hope to inspect all hives again this weekend including the one with the nuc. That would be two weeks after the last inspection giving them plenty of time to expand. The last two times I inspected my hives I did it in shorts and a t-shirt without any protective gear, however since the heat has started kicking in the girls have started getting more feisty. It looks like I will actually have to suit up for this next inspection.

The girls have been doing some strange things lately. Several days ago I had tons of bees flying around in front of the hives, on the landing board, crowding the entrance, and covering the outside of the screened bottom. I thought maybe there was some robbing going on but I didn’t see any fighting. My best theory is that the hives recently experienced a huge surge in growth from newly hatched brood, and since the weather has been bad those new bees hadn’t had the chance to do their orientation flights. The weather was good on this day and they were just out in mass conducting orientation flights. This is my best theory at least.

-Dale

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