Friday, March 18, 2011

A Hive on the Brink.



Above is another recent view of the yard.  I'm taking a lot of pictures, because I would like to show a progression from winter to summer.

To the left is my most active hive, and I have been using nurse bees from it to fortify the hive to the right.  The hive to the was doing as well as the others, with a good brood pattern, but suffered extremely heavy losses to skunk predation.  It was to the point that they were so cold, they couldn't break cluster even on flying days.  I have them a frame of brood, but they couldn't keep it warm.  So I gave that up and started giving them nurse bees instead.  Since then, they relocated the broodnest, established a cluster, and the queen has started laying again.  The first eggs should have hatched yesterday or the day before.  I predict they will need more nurse bees to maintain their population before they reach a sustainable minimum.  But it's really fun as a beekeeper to pull a hive back from the brink without any chemicals whatsoever.  But of course, they were not on the brink because of disease, it was a skunk.

The hive to the right is also more typical of my new standard format.  There will be little to no bottom entrance.  Instead, I have constructed what I'm referring to as 10 frame nucs with a bottom permanently attached and a hole with a disc entry on it.  I would have pictures, but the discs are out of stock at Kelley and I haven't gotten them yet.  Rule of Thumb: Don't expect to get anything in any sort of good time this time of year from a bee supply house.  Everybody has stuff out of stock, even my favorite, Mann Lake Ltd.  Anyway, the bottoms of my hives will be a 10 frame nuc, bottom permanently attached, disc entry, with the main entrance at the top as you see on the right.  I have a number of those upper entrances, and I can use them normal side up like is shown for times when I need an entrance reducer, or the other side up for use as a shade, awning, or fool-proof snow blocker in winter.

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