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Doug Ayen

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Bee update June [Jun. 22nd, 2011|11:12 pm]
Doug Ayen
It's been a few weeks since I last looked in on the bees, it was time to do some maintenance and make sure everything's ok.

Since I would be actually moving frames this time, I put on the full beesuit, including zipping the hood to the suit, double socks, and lots of smoke. As a note, it was so humid and hot today the matches would barely light. By the time I was done, I was drenched with sweat.

Hive 1: the first surprise, even a little smoke was enough to get the mass of bees on the bottom board scurrying inside. 2nd surprise, a small colony of ants under the top cover, now banished to the ground. Inside, as expected, the center frames are already full of brood and honey, and the outer frames essentially empty. I moved a couple of center frames out and put some outer frames in the middle, to encourage even usage. When I get back this one looks ready for a super, I think I'll include a queen excluder since I have one. This is the stronger of the two colonies, and the one that can take any associated stress more easily. Due to uneven bee space between frames, there was some irregular, doubled-up comb, some of which broke off during maneuvers, which the bees will clean up.

Hive 2: Third surprise: cockroaches under the hive cap. What looked like 3 or 4 classic wood roaches, about a centimeter long or less, scurrying out of the light. I'm not sure if I should be worried, I thnk the bees can keep them out of the hive proper, and it's not like the woods and fields nearby aren't full of various roaches in any case. Googling around shows that this is common and not generally considered a problem, just make sure they aren't getting into the hive and that the wood of your hive isn't rotting (i.e. wood roach food). The hive is brand new, though the supports it's on are kinda old. Not yet rotting, though.

The colony itself seems healthy, just a bit smaller than the other one. They had the same frame usage as the other colony, so I rearranged the frames the same way. Better bee space meant no irregular comb, so no dropped comb. I'll go ahead and super it next week as well.

By now, despite the smoke, the bees were getting quite frantic, but the bee suit held up, so far no stings from my bees. It was well worth the sweat and heat.