I went through some nucs yesterday and marked some queens (three total!). The year 2022 uses yellow for queens, following the mnemonic “Will You Raise Good Bees” for White, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue. So 2022 is a “2” year so we use the second color: yellow (also for “7” years). I’ve gotten much better at finding her highness through the years. Sometimes I still just cannot see her, but often I can now.
I use the tube shown in the below photo. Once inside, you can push her to the top with a soft plunger and press her lightly against the mesh (which she cannot fit through). A slight dab on the back with a yellow marker and you are done.
Happy Cinco do Mayo! The post has nothing to do with this, but worth putting out there. I found a picture of my first hives in the archives, so to speak, and thought it might be fun to compare this with my current hives.
One aspect of top bar hives (TBH) I enjoy is watching the bees build comb. You just don’t really get this in Langstroth hives, especially when using foundation. I caught a couple of pictures of the bees building comb last week, and though they were worth sharing.
You may recall that in my last post, I created a nuc above a nuc with a double screen board. My hope was that the upper hive would build some early queen cells. Yesterday and I checked the hives and found some success. So I made up three nucs and we will see how they do. We are due for some cooler temperatures again this coming week, so hopefully the queens are viable and emerge this weekend so they can huddle with the bees to stay warm.
So I tried something new…. I have a nucleus hives (nucs) to make up this year. Since I make my own queens, it takes about 6 weeks for queen to be born, mated, and start laying in a hive. So I wanted to make some nucs at the beginning of April. However, it was a bit cold and I was worried about the bees getting cold.
The ladies are out and about these days. They huddle up at night to stay warm and then head out when the weather gets over 42 F or so (5 C), especially when it is sunny. Here are a couple pictures of their endeavors yesterday.
We have a pool in the backyard that we cover for the winter. By spring, there is a lot of water on the cover, and the local animals take advantage of this resource. We typically pump off the water in late April or early May when we open the pool for the year. Before this happens, we get birds, toads, bees, and an occasional snake (don’t tell my wife) enjoying the water.
We had a beautiful 77 F (25 C) Saturday and I took the opportunity to check my hives and reverse the boxes. For the most part the bees were gentle and busy with their work. Reversing is a method of moving lower boxes with little or no resources (especially no brood) to the top. This puts the brood nest lower in the hive and encourages the colony to build out honey stores above.
Today was a good day to peek in the hives, so I opened a few up to see how they are faring. They are raising bees, storing nectar, and otherwise taking their late winter activities seriously. My two top bar hives were strong, though they each had some dampness on the bottom board. The Langstroth hives I checked seem good, with both brood and food. Unless we get a freaky stretch of weather, but I think my 8 hives have made it through the winter.
I was struggling to clean the nooks and crannies of old frames, so bought a turkey fryer that I tried out last weekend. It works really well and makes scraping out the grooves a breeze. As a plus it melts other random wax and I’m sure sanitizes the frames as well. The pot is tall enough that I can boil one side and then the other. After reviewing a couple sites I’m trying to boil each side for about two minutes.