Crocus Hive Check 4-13-12

Hive Check 4-13-12

This is an online version of my hive inspection notes.  More descriptive posts about this hive can be found on the Crocus Hive page.

Busy bees collecting pollen.

The weather has been seasonable and sunny with little rain and no snow melt making for dry spring conditions.  The bees have been out and about often since the last hive check.  It was sunny and 54 degrees when I opened the hive.  No smoke was used or needed during this inspection.  I saw yellow pollen both pale and bright, orange, light brown and white/pale grey pollen coming into the hive.  The hive was quite loud when I went in and seemed a bit disturbed.  I was worried about their food supply after they had eaten 5.5 frames of honey and nectar the week before and needed to do a quick check.

When I opened the box it was bursting with bees.  There were so many bees the frames were hard to manipulate without smoke.  I was contemplating smoking them when I realized the reason the hive was so loud and active was because they had an intruder.  An all black paper wasp had invaded the hive and was being balled by the girls.  It was making a pretty good escape attempt though until I trapped it with my hive tool and let the girls gang up on it.  I tried to squish it for them but the darn thing just wouldn’t squish.  After I held it there for a minute or so it was hidden by a ball bees and it’s death was ensured.

White/pale grey, yellow and orange pollen coming into the hive.

The bees were agitated because they had an intruder.  The robber was marked with the attack pheromone and the agitated bees came at the wasp and completely ignored me.  They amaze me how they are so particular.  After the robber was taken care of the bees calmed down and I continued the inspection.

I took off the outer cover insulation for the year.   All the frames have been cleaned now and the few scattered chilled brood removed.

Yellow and white/pale grey pollen on the bees.

They have started building wonky comb again.  This hive still has only 18 completely drawn frames.  There is one frame that is 1/2 drawn on both sides and two that have one side which still need the corners filled.  I spent all last year trying to get them to build the wax on the frames correctly but instead of drawing the frames right they would enlarge the comb on the opposite frame until it reached the foundation they refused to fill.  When I cut off the burr comb and/or moved the frames around to stop them from building crazy comb, they would rebuild the wild comb and draw out the moved frames larger instead of building the foundation out on the other frame.  I left the wavy comb this time and I think I will replace the frames they don’t want to touch.

I was surprised to see the queen had filled 8 full frames with brood/eggs.  The hive is filled with bees and one frame had a dozen or so capped drones.  My hive will be bursting with bees pretty soon and I’ll have to split soon to avoid swarming.  The girls have 4 frames of capped honey and are starting to fill empty frames with nectar. 

Box Breakdown

Top box – Frames 1 – 2 are being filled with nectar and pollen. Frames 3-4 are filled with eggs, larvae and capped brood. Frames 5-6 are filled with capped brood. Frames 7-8 are eggs and larvae. Frame 9-10 are mostly empty but starting to be filled with nectar.

Bottom Box – Frames 1-2 have capped honey. Frame 3 is empty and being filled with pollen. Frames 4-5 have eggs, larvae, capped brood mixed on the frames.  Frames 6-8 are empty with some nectar/pollen. Frames 9-10 have honey both capped and uncapped.

My previous inspection can be found here.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

  1. Three New Packages of Bees And Crocus Hive
  2. Blue Pollen, Honeybees and Siberian Squill
  3. Crocus Hive Check 3-22-12
  4. Crocus Hive Check 4-4-12
  5. First Spring Hive Inspection Of An Overwintered Colony – March 12, 2012