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Whidbey Island Washington Beekeeping & Honeybees - Lavender Honey - Green Road Farm - Tim Walsh

2012 – Year Five~~~* The Year of Improvements

April 27th 2012

So I have deemed this year to be the year of improvements.

The two main areas on my mind are:

  • Improvements to the way I feed them.
  • Improvements in the quality and weather resistance of the supers.
  • Improvements to the placement of the hives in regard to sun and weather.

 

As things stand at the beginning of this year, I had two hives survive out of three. The hive that died had plenty of honey and food and were not found with their heads buried the comb the way they do when they starve. The were all just dead scattered throughout the hive. I had left an extra super on (making three) over the winter and I wonder if maybe there was just to much space to warm during out cold winter.

I ordered a package of Carnolian bees and on the day that I installed them I took out the queen, replaced the cork with a marshmallow, placed her in to the hive and gave the wooden box that the bees arrived in a shake. About half of the bees fell out onto the super. I decided to let the others wander out at their own pace so I just placed the box on top of the super and went to look at the other hives.

When I opened up one of the two hives that made it through the winter, there on the top of the frames was the queen…alone…just sitting there. I put her in a queen cage like the ones that come with a package of bees and fed her a little sugar water.

There were very few bees in the rest of the hive…definitely not enough to turn into a thriving hive by the end of May. I decided I would try an experiment by placing her into a hive with the other half of the bees that came in the new package. The bees quickly were attracted to her and soon were surrounding the queen cage. I fed them both sugar water and a pollen patty. By the end of the day both hives had gone out exploring the nearby field and settle into their hive for the night.

I returned 2 weeks later to discover that both queens were laying and were on their way to a growing hive.

The queen that I rescued is actually laying better than the new Queen I just purchased. She always had been a very prolific Queen. I am still not sure what happened to all the bees in the hive she came from. There were no queen cells or signs of swarming. There were no dead bees lying around…just her and about 15 other bees in the hive.

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