Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Beekeepers in the Family

    I successfully transported two beehives to Oregon earlier in the week.  They made the trip in fine shape. Linda didn't even notice that we had a few loose bees in the back of the car. Actually, I didn't notice the loose bees either until I removed the hives from the car early Monday morning.  Both hives are now set up in their new home in the Matiaco family's vegetable garden. I was able to walk Chloe through the basics of doing a hive inspection on Tuesday afternoon. She did very well. She was gentle with the bees and moved slowly and deliberately. She showed very good technique, especially for a newbee. She was able to see honey, pollen, eggs, open brood, capped brood and the queen in each hive. I felt badly that I failed to get any photos of Chloe working the hive. I got too caught up in teaching and didn't even remember that I had intended to take pictures until after we were back at the car removing our bee suits.
Chloe's Hive and Autumn's Hive from Left to Right

     The reason Autumn's hive has two boxes while Chloe's hive only has one box has to do with the history of each hive. Autumn's hive came from a three pound package that I hived on May 4th. Chloe's hive was started from a four pound swarm I hived on May 7th.  When I checked both hives about a week later, it was apparent that Chloe's hive was missing a queen. By the time I was able to procure a queen and get her installed and accepted in Chloe's hive, Autumn's hive had a two week head start in raising brood. A beehive will grow best if it has just the right amount of space relative to their population.  If they have too much space it becomes harder for them to keep the brood warm and the extra space actually slows down their growth.  Chloe's hive should be ready for their second box within another week or so.

    The jars of sugar syrup in the entrance feeders in the front of each hive represent only the third quart of syrup given to each hive. They both did very well foraging from the Big Leaf Maple trees at my house and consequently didn't take very much sugar syrup.  I told the girls they could probably stop feeding them after these jars of syrup are gone as the blackberries are already starting to bloom in Forest Grove, Oregon. Once the weather warms up this weekend, the bees will probably do fine just foraging.  I suspect I will probably have to continue feeding my bees in Snohomish, Washington for another few weeks.  Our weather is a little cooler and wetter. Hence the blackberries in my yard bloom a little later than they do in Oregon.

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