Jilara (jilara) wrote,
Jilara
jilara

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The bees are hived

After giving them Saturday and part of Sunday to get used to their new location (and rest up!), I went out around dark last night to rearrange them. I'd pulled the extra hive body down off the screen room roof, so I could use it for a secondary, as not only could I fit the branch in, for now, but I suspect this colony will grow fast, having many, many bees. By waiting until dark, I was able to have most of them back in the hive and fairly mellow.
I put the other hive body and combs to one side, with the bottom board underneath, then took the other hive body off the cardboard box. While some bees were hanging out in the hive body, they were still mostly on the branch in the box, and had started building comb on the cardboard and the branch. A chunk, already full of new honey, fell down when I pulled back one of the cardboard flaps. I put it on the bottom of the hive, sprinkled sugar/lemongrass oil mix into the hive and started moving things. I used the saw and pruner to reduce the size of the branch and detach bushy stuff and lemons, so I could get the inner cover over everything. There were still bees hanging out in the cardboard box, so I turned it upside down over the top of the hive. They should migrate down through the hole in the inner cover, into the hive bodies, where the comb and queen are. I'll check on it tonight. This is a critical time, the next few days, but so far the colony looks strong.
Based on the behavior, this could be a supercedure swarm. I heard a queen piping when I boxed them to take them home, and that's usually a recently-emerged virgin, who leaves with the swarm and mates while with the swarm. I was actually wondering at the time if there was more than one queen, which again would argue supercedure, as you sometimes get several virgin queens leaving the hive in the cluster, who then mate while in the swarm, then either separate out or sort out who's strongest when they find a new nest site. The strength of the colony argues this could be the case, as sometimes up to 90% of the colony decamps, leaving the old queen and a skeleton crew of workers behind, to hopefully be later replaced by yet another new queen from later brood.
I went out last night, late, and put my ear to the hive body. I could hear that lovely contented hum of bees inside. It's a wonderful sound. It's so good to have bees again.
I need to get some more frames and hive bodies. If I get another swarm, I won't have a place for them. I've used the two bodies I have, and am down to a shallow super and frames.
Tags: bees
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