Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inspection & Harvest

Now the cleanup of the deadouts and the wax rendering has been done and as the weather is still fine I thought I would take a peek in a couple of hives.

The first hive I opened was a normal kenyan by the garage not in the apiary. It was populated by a swarm captured in my hexagonal bait hive earlier in the year. Very few bees and only built 8 combs. I saw some capped honey, open nectar, plenty of pollen and one comb of brood both capped and uncapped. I didn't see the queen or eggs. I think I may put this tiny colony in a kenyan nuc and gradually move it to the apiary. Temper rating about 3

The second hive is a catenary TBH also populated by a cast at the same time as the other. This hive had the same number of combs built but even fewer bees with no eggs nor brood. I didn't see the queen either. Again I will transfer them to a kenyan nuc and if on my next look there is still no brood, I may combine them with the first one. Temper rating about 4

The next hive I checked was the blue kenyan which was populated by a prime swarm in March or April. They had built out every comb in the hive and it had a full set of top bars on a 1m long hive. I harvested some honey from several bars and returned the bars to the hive. Some of the honeycombs had collapsed onto the floor of the hive and I needed to use my wide hacksaw blade to detach it. I got in a sticky mess so about 12 combs in from the end, and as I had a full bucket of honeycomb, I decided to close it up until another time when I was clean again. I never got to the brood combs with this hive so I will have to check it again and probably harvest another bucket of honey from it. Temper rating 3

There seems to be a comb collapse problem in most of the hives. These first two had a little collapsed also. These first two hives had good shade so in their case I can only put it down to an unusually hot summer and too few bees to cool a large hive. So there is the dilemma of giving them enough space to build up with and giving too much space in a hot year for a small colony. Next year, if I hive any swarms, I will judge the size of the hive space given to the size of the swarm.

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