Friday, April 5, 2013

Adding after division

I wonder why it is that the bees swarm when I'm not looking? I was off getting young missy's cast off -- everything healed nicely, thank you! -- and got home to hear, "Mama, the bees are in the tree again."

Yep, it's the Magnetic Apricot Tree:

Since I'd already set up a fourth hive, for just this eventuality, I grabbed the bucket, but then thought, maybe if I add more room to the other hives, this can be the last swarm of the season. Please. . .

So a quick dump, and voila! Four hives:

It took them some time to agree that they wanted to be in here -- at least for about 20% of them. Despite the brave signaling of one bee, they clustered at the top of the bucket instead of marching up into the hive:

I just kept dumping, and in fact have "thwumped" another couple of softball-shaped clumps into the bucket and into the hive over the course of the afternoon. The tree is probably smelling pretty attractive now -- so either scouts from this swarm or from some other group keep gathering.

The other hives looked okay. I didn't do full inspections -- no smoke, just suit -- but each one looked as though it could support at least a little more room.

Some spare comb on the queen excluder, but this hive just needed another honey super, since it had two purple brood boxes. This is the one I had combined last time. They're looking okay now.

The next hive needed more room both top and bottom. They're from the last swarm in the apricot tree, so it was nice to see that they're busy and active.

Somewhat too active. Early in the season is prime comb-building time, but they'd drawn this drone-sized comb above the foundation, not attached to it. It couldn't stay, although it's beautiful. 

Reminds me that I must render wax, clean out my cappings box, and harvest some honey. I need a warm room, because I think some of the frames must be crystallized by now. I may end up having to scrape and drain. But I must get on top of this - honey season does not wait for anyone. Plus, I need to come up with a plan in case the hives just keep swarming. I don't want to lose any more bees at this point. Thoughts?

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