Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Bees and Storm Damage Continued
Now that I have my truck back and no other pressing time restraints I finally got the chance to catch up with some bee work I needed to do last week.
The swarm I caught back in May isn't doing so well. I think I should have actually hived that swarm in a Nuc box rather than a full hive but I have had issues with doing that in the past. Namely the bees sometimes seem to want a larger box even though they do not have the numbers to fill it properly. Since the swarms I have caught in that location before all seemed to turn into boomers I thought I would let them have a full box.
That must have been a mistake because when I gave them their last checkup there were hardly any bees left and only a couple of cells of brood.
I really don't know what happened but I am beginning to suspect they absconded and that last swarm my Step Dad reported seeing back there while I was at work was them leaving.
There was maybe a cup full of bees left but they were still foraging and coming and going. I have seen this scenario happen before with swarms. They are not happy with one location and take off but will leave their foragers behind because they are away from the hive when it all goes down.
I decided to try and put a couple of frames of mixed capped and uncapped brood in there today to see if I could stiffen their survivors resolve. The queen is an issue because I have yet to see any Northern queen breeders advertising but I will get around this by giving the hive some newly laid eggs on Sunday if I cannot find a queen to order.
They should have time to raise a new queen without a problem.
While transporting and putting the new frames into the box I believe I discovered the cause of the problem. Ants began pouring out of the bottom board. They had set up house between the plastic tray and the wooden bottom. I cleaned em out as much as possible and removed the plastic tray so hopefully they won't come back. The old style screened bottom boards I started out using are bad for allowing ants to set up in this dead area under the hive where the bees can't get to them.
If beekeeping has one nemesis around here it is ants. I swear I have more problems with ants than any other pest that plagues honey bees. I can only guess at how many hives I have lost or swarms I didn't catch because ants have moved into the hives or traps.
Hopefully this split will work to revive the hive but I am going to have to keep a close eye on it I think and feed the hell out of it until Fall if they are going to build up enough for Winter. I doubt the two frames will harm the strong hive I took em from but it will require some watching as well.
I also moved the little Nuc I had going into it's own brood chamber as well.
The storm damage wasn't too bad here. A couple of limbs, a few lost shingles and a chair cushion. We did somehow manage to lose one onion we had laid on the deck to dry a bit which still has me confused. The store room doors shouldn't be as hard to fix as I feared. It looks as if all I will need is a couple of 2x4's to replace some that were rotted out anyway and maybe a few siding boards.
I spent most of the afternoon and evening getting stuff picked up and put away and then tying up the Tomatoes that got blown off their trellis. I lost a couple few Sunflowers and about 25% of my poor looking Corn crop. That's about it.
It could have been worse I guess and we sure did need the rain :)
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!