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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Nuc Installed!

Last Sunday we installed the surviving nuc, making a new colony named Mongo. We’ll let the pictures do the talking.


Mark is setting the bottom board for the new hive.


The nuc has five frames it, so to complete the first hive body, five more empty frames are installed to give growing room to the colony.


Mark prepares to remove the five bulging frames from the nuc and put in the middle of the hive body.


See the little white eggs? Eggs!


Mark, very seriously, looking for eggs.


The last of the bees dumped from the empty nuc on top of the new hive body.


Mongo LIVVVVVES! And the empty nuc with a few hanger-on bees will stay there overnight to allow them to escape and find their way into their new home.




No truer words have been spoken – Mongo DOES like candy.


Time to refresh the hive names as winter faded them.


The expanded yard.










Quick Check-in at the Prairie

We’ve been bad beekeepers. Haven’t been to the hives in about 10 days due to a tight schedule, rampant illness and rain. Lots of rain.

The bad news is that one of the two nucs we started did not make it. RIP.

The good news is that Ole re-queened herself. But, the semi-bad news is that when the queen came back after her mating flight it appears she zoomed right into the honey super instead of staying below the queen excluder in the brood boxes. So, we we sacrificed that honey super and put the queen excluder above it, and dropped on another honey super on the toppy-top.

So, how did the queen get above the queen excluder? When we put the honey supers on, we offset them just a bit so as the workers are bringing in nectar they can fly right into the penthouse/honey super. If you check out the picture taken the day we supered, you can see the offset honey super on top. Badda-bing – everything weird happens to us.


Example of offset honey supers (top narrow box), taken a couple weeks ago.

And then it started to rain. Again.

Well, that was weird…

6-1-2014 bearding

It’s hot! Bees bearded on front of Ole and Lena.

Thursday night we rushed out to the field to kick off the entrance reducers, add the first honey supers of the season, and check to see if the new queen had started laying eggs in Thor. Man, it was hot and muggy and we were greeted with lots of bees bearding on the front of the hive boxes. And, the ladies were grumpy. So yes, Robin was stung yet again. (I swear bees only sting those that don’t react well to such things.) On the upside, we found eggs in Thor, so that particular queenless mess is behind us.

Queen cell on the right, newly emerged queen on the left, under Mark's hive tool.

Queen cell on the right, newly emerged queen on the left, under Mark’s hive tool.

Today, we went out early and crawled through each hive, looking at every frame for queen cells. Capped queen cells = swarm is quite possibly eminent. Our goal was to pull out frames with capped queen cells in drop them in nucs which are essentially small hive incubators. We filled our two nucs, so we were wrapping it up and checking the last few frames for queen cells. We found one last queen cell so Mark pulled it off. It came off pretty much intact so he set on top of one of the hives in case I wanted to take a picture. A couple minutes later I looked at it and HOLY COW the queen was chewing her way out. Panic ensued! We didn’t want her to take off, mate, and then have a swarm go on the lamb. So we made a split-second decision to snuff her out. Was it the right decision – heck, we don’t know. But, that decision was the same as setting $25 on fire.  😦

It seems like we’re on a weird roller coater where we either have too many queens, or not enough.

Fie hives & two nucs.

Fie hives & two nucs.