Honey 1 Inspection and Mokoroa 1 gets new Queen!!

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The day started off pretty grey in the Waitakere Hills, so wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to put in the new Queen that I picked up last night from “Dals Pollination“. The weather picked up around lunch time, so I headed out to the Bee gardens.

After reading many articles on the interwebs it seemed the best approach to give the new Queen the best chance was to provide some frames of brood from another hive. So I figured that the best approach was to bring forward the inspection of Honey 1 from Saturday to today.

The other thing that many sources on the Internet recommended was to leave the plastic tab on the Queen Cage for at least two days. Which I will do as well, this helps the bees to be become accustomed to the new Queen.

The candy plug doesn’t always last the normal three day period that is required for the bees to get to know the new Queen. Judging by how much candy was eaten over night by the Queen and her attendants, I think this will be true.

The Honey 1 Inspection:-

Margaret’s Queen Rearing Experiment has produced two Queen Cells. We had thought the Experiment had failed but we maybe producing a new Queen. she will be following this up soon readers. Hopefully we can generate a new Queen; maybe this combined with the Millar method is how we can produce queens next season. Margaret latest blog post can be found HERE.

We have two Supers on the hive, 1.5 boxes are full of nectar but none of frames are totally capped yet. You can’t extract honey that is uncapped; it has too much water content and will ferment in the jar.

We did have some nice frames of capped honey in the full sized brood boxes, but these frames belong to the bees for winter feed. I have attached a photo of one of the frames to the left.

I have added a new ¾ box which has our new half frame foundation in it; the bees have been busy creating new foundation on similar frames in the hive. The foundation is a work of art, the idea is that the bees own foundation contains no chemical build up. As opposed to Shop bought foundation (Do you know where your Bee keeping supplier gets their wax from?). The cell size is also the correct size dependant on what the bees need at that time.

It’s interesting the cells the bees built for the honey was almost drone sized and is now full of nectar. Will this mean more honey?

This takes longer and you will produce less honey until the frames have been built, but we think it’s better for the bees. We have also put wire in the frames, so hopefully the frames will survive the extraction process.

I found less than 2 day old eggs on a frame in the second level of the hive, but I didn’t locate the Queen today. The hive was very busy so it’s not surprising that I didn’t spot her. Just hoping she didn’t hop a ride on the frames of brood that were sent over to Mokora 1 (I did check them pretty intensely so we should be ok).

I also put in Half Drone Brood management frames, this is an idea that I learnt from Martin at the Auckland Bee Club which involves creating a full size frame with foundation at the top and then a solid bar. The idea is that the bees will build foundation in the lower part which will be mainly drone brood. You remove this every 25 days or when the drone cells are capped. The Varroa mites are more attracted to the Drone cells because of the longer capping period. Hence you remove quite a lot of mites before they are released into your hive (See photos, I made one with plastic foundation and one with Wax Foundation to see which one works better). You can also use a ¾ frame in a full size hive, the bees will create comb at the bottom of it.

We have mentioned in the past our spacer tool we built to make it easier to space out nine frames in a 10 frame hive. This makes it much easier to extract and produces more honey. The picture on the left of what the frames looks like after the bees have built the foundation.

The tool is hard to use when the box is full of bees, so we will look at making some improvements with it.

Mokoroa 1 – The Next Phrase.

In our efforts to save this hive I have added three frames of brood and nurse bees to the hive today from Honey 1.

I also added the Queen mentioned above will remove the tab on the Queen cage on Saturday and then check the hive in a couple of weeks. Hopefully this hive will be strong enough to make it through the winter here in a few months.

All pictures from the day

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