Honey bees Month 2: Hive cross comb and a split

in The Pollen Flow2 months ago

It has been a few months since I have posted an update on my Honey bees. They are doing great, so well in fact they were planning on swarming. That can happen when a hive outgrows its home and half the population may leave to look for a new bigger home out in the wild somewhere. I noticed signs of this a few days ago, so I jumped into action to deal with this. As I did not want to lose half my bees due to not managing their space well enough. What I saw was how drastically they reduced their consumption of sugar water, being the first time this happened I decided to open up the hive and see what was going on inside.

While dealing with the possibility of them swarming, some cross comb formed across a few frames and I had to deal with that before I could split the hive. Moving half the bees to my second beehive, the one that did not do so well after I dropped the queen in it on the first day. All of the comb was drawn and I saw numerous queen cups being made, so a swarm was going to happen soon. So by moving half the drawn out comb along with honey and brood it made room for them to build more.

Dealing with cross comb was a very messy job, and I did not run my camera as my hands were very sticky. But I did take some pictures after the fact of bees hanging around. So I can explain what I did and share some cute bee pictures as I tell the story.

Using a sharp linoleum knife, I cut through the comb that has grown out to the sides. Some of the frames were basically glued together with the wax and such so I had to work it very carefully to free, remove comb and then cut off any other comb that was in the way as well.

A large chunk of comb came off during hive surgery, it was a giant piece of cross comb. So I set it right outside of the hive to let the bees collect the resources from it before I discarded it out into the forest away from the hives. If I left it there it would encourage robbing and other predators to show up.

After I was all done cutting comb, I found some of the bees follow me up the hill. Some were stuck on my tool from all the honey. And I set it down on this table outside. Bees came from out of the forest to collect the honey. As much as I am worried I made a big mess cutting the cross comb off, I think the bees will drink up all the stray honey and fix any damage I caused. I will need to go back into the hive and stop any more forming of the cross comb. Its like spider webs, if you knock them down enough they will stop building in that area.

I was quite surprised how calm the bees stayed while I was in their hive and moving frames around. They did bump me a bunch but for the most part they just were busy cleaning up as I did my work in the hive.

I took the frames from the empty hive, and did my best divide them between hives. Making sure capped honey, brood and a queen cell was included in the new hive. I saw about five queen cups on the comb but only one appeared to be occupied. Some bees drinking sugar water that dripped on their feeding stations.

They are really loving their buckets of sugar water, if you noticed I changed my name on discord to Solo [Bringer of sugar water] which is a play on words for @crimsonclad's [Bringer of death] nickname.

One of my lids failed on the bucket, the plastic failed so I am down to two five gallon buckets for them at the moment. Plus the two rapid feeders on top of the hives.

The forest that these bees live in is really waking up now. All the trees have leafed out and I see flowers everywhere. The bees have been collecting alot of pollen and nectar from them and building out their homes with all of that sweet goodness.

Wondering in the later part of the summer what will happen, during the dearth the bees may need my help again with giving them sugar water. Also already saw my first hive beetle though it was in the feeder and not the hive itself. I have beetle traps set in the hive and tangle foot along the 4x4 posts that they must climb up. So I think the hives are pretty well protected from the beetles. I see alot more in other peoples hives that do not raise them like I do.

Some of the honey comb got spilled on this dish and a bee found it and was going about collecting it. Hopefully all the spilled honey will be cleaned up in a day or two. And I really hope I included enough young brood in the second hive to become a queen if needed. I did not have a flashlight to verify young brood in the uncapped sections of the comb, so just kind of did it by the "seat of my pants" so to say.

Time will tell now and I plan on checking on them in a few weeks to make sure their are building in the new hive. And hoping by the end of the year I will have two very strong hives. As the beginning of this year I only had one after messing up on the first.

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Did the weak hive completely collapse or did it still have the original queen?

It collapsed, but the queen stayed for almost a month. Once they lose enough weight they leave to build a new hive. It would seem most of the weak hive left shortly after me installing the first package of bees. I saw them beard on the outside of the hive and probably never returned. I did a poor job installing them since it was my first time. But the second hive went well and glad I could split it.

The queen inside did not have the workforce needed to build out the hive. So it slowly got weaker and weaker until they all died except the queen. She was the last and probably flew away to start a new hive.

50% success on your first try at setting up hives is pretty good. That video was pretty intense.

Agreed.. glad I listened to who I bought them from. They suggested two hives in the case for something like this happens.

It sure was intense, those bees wanted to sting me good. Glad they have really calmed down since then.

A beautiful blog. A pleasure to read.

glad you enjoyed reading it