Bee successes and failures

We did an inspection of the beehives today.

I’d noticed that the Flow hive was looking unusually quiet over the last few weeks, and when we looked at the frames, they were pretty much empty — very little honey or brood. But we did see the queen. So we think that the bees swarmed at some point. That is where the queen takes about half of the bees away to find a new home, and a new queen is hatched. That usually happens when they run out of space, so we may have triggered it by adding the Flow super too late, despite getting a couple of harvests from that. So not sure the timing makes sense.

Anyway, since this hive has basically reverted to a new hive, we took the Flow super off, and resumed feeding them.

The purple hive had a Ross round super on it, to make comb honey… but they hadn’t built any comb there for the past two inspections. So we replaced that super with the Flow one, to see if they prefer that. There’s certainly lots of activity in the purple hive.

Of the two new hives, the blue one has always been the weakest; it was much lighter when we got it, and it hasn’t improved. There are very few bees, and very little honey or brood. So that one probably won’t survive the winter. If it does fail, we’ll replace it next year.

The pink one, however, is doing really well. It was pretty much full of excellent brood and honey. Just look at these beautiful frames packed full of honey:

So we decided to try the Ross round super on that hive, to give them more space to expand into. We normally wouldn’t harvest honey from a first-year hive, but they’re doing so well, I think they could support it without endangering them. We’ll check next weekend to see if they start building comb in the super; if not, we might give them a regular box instead. Don’t want to risk them swarming.

Lots of bees on the outside, most of them queuing to come in, after Jenn scraped off excess comb:

Finally, a rare picture of me (David) in my bee suit:

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