First off, I'm reading Honeybee Democracy
and getting very sucked in to the science side of beekeeping. It's surprising to me how little we've known about collective hive behaivor that was backed with real research and studies.
Today we had an afternoon beekeeping class on hive inspection at our public apiary, the first in the US
. About 20 people attended, it was run by folks from http://burghbees.com/
, the people who maintain the apiary and hold classes and social events. The class started with a brief demo on setting up a smoker, then we went through three different hives looking for queens, queen swarm or supercedence cells, and pests like mites and moths.
When we got home we did a "take-home test" and looked at our two hives, the "east" and "west" hives as we're too lazy to name them. We looked at the east hive first, it is still slow on building comb but has plenty of capped larva cells in a good formation, so we kept on the feed and moved to the west hive. It's filled 9 of 10 frames with comb and is laying in honey as well as capped worker and drone cells in most of the frames. We also found (and removed) at least a dozen potential queen cells in the west hive and noted that it was pretty much packed with bees, capped cells, larva, and honey.
To give them more room we added a second deep hive, two deeps are pretty much the standard minium for local beeks. We moved one of the capped frames from the existing deep to a new deep as a "lure frame" to encourage workers and the queen to venture into safe space. We moved an empty frame from the new deep to the outside of the first deep, so we still have 10 frames in each deep.
We also took the club's advice and kept the feeder in a third, empty deep. The local beeks suggest that new hives have a feeder until the second deep is completely built as there's no risk of overfeeding the bees. So far it's been a pound of sugar every 7-10 days for each hive, the west hive is building like mad and the east hive might have a problem with robbers given how little building there is on the frames.
I've started posting some photos
to show to our mentor and the burgh bees members.