2016 Apiary Season notes - Southwest Missouri

Jan 2 - Checked on the three hives at apiary 2 and found the hive we graphed the queen into in September, is a deadout with about a cup of bees and no stores even though most of the candy board was available. On inspection, we found a frame with numerous queen cells, most which were torn out the side indicting a new queen hatched. Apparently, the hive swarmed late in the season and the new queen didn't get mated. Reports of late swarms and absconding in this area seems to be the rule for 2015.

The other two hives are active and consuming the candy boards.

Jan 13 - 45 degrees outside and the girls are out in the garden hive. Checked on the girls at apiary 3 and they were out in force. Added ProPatties to those two hives. The swarm hive is really strong, the split not so much but appears to be holding its own.

Jan 14 - It is in the mid 50's, windy and sunny; The bees are pulling white and dark orange pollen in the garden hive.

Jan 17 - It's 18 degrees outside and my primary hive is not in cluster. The hive is exhausting 74.6 degrees out the uppper vent, a 57 degree difference. Amazing how a bunch of cold blooded critters can affect their enviroment that much!

Jan 24 - 50 degrees and checked the hives at apiary 3. The weak hive is still hanging in there and the strong hive is really active with lots of bees to be seen. My primary hive at location 1 is doing well so far.

Feb 7 - Bees at my primary hive are pulling in light yellow and white pollen when the tempature is above 45 degrees. Went for a walk and found maple tree flowers blooming on some trees.

Feb 19 - 70 degrees outside - Hive 1 very active pulling a lot of pollen with lots of bees. Hive 2 wasn't looking all that strong and had not consumed much of the sugar board or pollen patty. I removed that and replaced it with syrup. Hive 3 is really active and has consumed both the sugar board and pollen patty. I placed the sugar board and patty from Hive 1 into it.

Feb 20 - Removed the candy board from Hive 1, about the only thing left was part of ProPatty and some sub I had mixed up. I saw more than enough hive beetles and removed any pollen subs. The girls have been pulling in a lot maple pollen for the last couple weeks, so subs aren't needed anymore and I'm tired of feeding beetles. I put quart jar of syrup on the hive and they are taking a 1/3 of quart a day. This will be my breeder hive and I added a third deep to give some extra room for brood laying.

Feb 27 - Checked the hives at apairy 3. Last years swarm hive is really populated and I added another deep to give some laying room. The weaker split hive is looking good but is not taking any of the sugar board or patty, so I replaced it with liquid syrup hoping to encourgage some buildup. Lots of pollen being pullen end, mostly maple and a little henbit and deadnettle.

Mar 5 - Inspection of breeder hive - lots of bees and drone comb is well populated.

Mar 14 - Breeder hive drones are appearing and seeing some with DWV symptons. Applied 2 grams of oxalic acid using a Varrox vaporizor and the lawn mower battery for power.

Mar 15 - Checked the bottom board for mite drop and found approx 50-100 mites (best guess, I didn't count them).

Apr 5 - My breeder hive is really full of bees and I observed some swarm cells being constructed. I split the top and bottom deeps and added addtional boxes to give some room and stop any swarming.

Apr 7 - It appears the queen was in the upper deep and still difficult to find the queen so I split that again. Soon as this weather breaks and I find new laid eggs.

Apr 11 - Found fresh larvae in the upper deep and built a breeding NUC with 4 frames of brood and grafted cells from the remaining frames. Also saw at least two uncapped queen cells with larvae inside. As soon as they are capped, I will remove them and start additional nucs.

Apr 24 - Split failed, unable locate eggs or a queen. Shook out the remaining bees and moved usable comb to another hive.

Apr 28 - Apiary 3 - found one hive has swarmed and the other hive may have swarmed and still had a considerable number of bees. Found 2 maybe three queen cells in the lower deep and 2 or more in the upper deep. Made up a NUC box with 4 frames from the lower deep.

May 1 - Apiary 2 - Water tank bees have returned. New split queen cells have the side torn out indicating a successful queen hatch this week; no queen or eggs seen at this time. The other two hives are well populated and will need another super each before long. Queens have been laying in the honey super, but the workers are back filling with honey, when they hatch.

May 9 - Apiary 2 - Two of the hives honey supers are full and added additonal super to each. Split still has no observable eggs and a bunch of black ants were in the hive fighting with the bees, emptied those out away from the hive.

May 11 - Apiary 3 - one hive is completely vacated of bees and stores. second hive has one deep and one med super of good weight.

May 12 - NUC queen cells have hatched have hatched but no eggs showing, but I did find a very well developed capped queen cell that I have not seen before. Removed a frame of brood from the garden hive to supplement the workers in the NUC.

May 21 - Inspected the NUC and found the queen cell tip begining to open up and found three emergency queen cells on the frame of brood I installed on the 12th in the upper half. I removed the top NUC body with the emergency queen cells with ample workers and brood making it another NUC. I retrieved an additonal brood frame from the garden hive and placed in the bottom NUC bottom to supplement it for the well develped queen cell that is about to hatch. Also inspected the remaining hive at Apiary 3. I had placed mostly foundationless frames in the bottom deep after removing five frames for a split and that made a great place for a mouse nest. It's been cool and I guess a mouse decided it was a kewl place to hang out. Lesson learrned - too much room sometimes is not so good. The honey super was about 20% full so I removed the bottom deep will replace it later when the hive is more populated.

May 29 - One of the two NUCs probably has tracheal mites. Shook some workers from the garden hive to help clean up till I can get it treated and ordered some Menthol tablets to treat. Did a walk away split with the garden hive and replaced the upper brood chamber at Apiary 3. Put in a bee escape between the honey super and new brood chamber, I'm going to remove it and treat for tracheal mites; this hive is the bee source of the NUC with the tracheal mites.

Did find a new queen in the NUC with the problems, hopefully we can keep her alive till this mite issue gets worked out. Placed a drawn comb frame in for her to lay in.

Jun 4 - NUCs - I haven't seen any more bees with K-wing or larvae being thrown out the door. I removed a frame of honey that was looking bad from the lesser NUC; they weren't using it and hive beetles were having a ball, replaced it with a clean drawn frame. The stronger NUC still has no queen but they are building another queen cell from a frame of brood in placed in the NUC.

Checked my remaining hive at Apiary 3 - It was was looking poorly last time I checked it and I intended to remove the super and compact the brood chamber down to remove unwanted space. Not only had they figured out how to get around the escape I placed between the honey super and brood body, they had filled most of the super up and needed another. Removed the escape board and put another honey super and let them run with it. Weird spring, crazy buildups and can't seem to get a queen mated. Other than the garden hive recovering after the first split, I'm batting zero.

Garden Hive - Walkaway split has queen cell about 5 days old - original hive is robust and many bees washboarding 24 hours a day. They are actively working the new upper deep and I added a honey super to give them some more room.

Grafted queen cells from garden hive to latest garden hive split

Jun 5 - No sign of the colony in the water tank at the Shire

Jun 7 - Shire hives were filling up the existing supers - harvested 132# from 4 honey supers and replaced them.

Jun 15 - Rehived the NUC with the queen to a full deep and found 4-5 day old larvae. The other NUC still appears queenless.

Jun 17 - Inspected Apiary 3 - hive recovered the brood box and looks to have about 30# of honey on. They were not drawing he new honey super and I gave it a sugar water spray.

Jun 29 - It has been a couple weeks of annoying setbacks. Cannot graft a queen to save my neck this year. Every queen cell except one has been cleaned out prematurely. Finally got one new queen in a deep and cut my losses by combined the remaining splits into one and moved to Apiary 3 after a robbing event. I did have 3 queen cells from a cell builder during the robbing event and not sure if they hatched before the event or got removed; NUC appears to have normal behaviour. Waiting to see if one of them survived.

I did a walkaway split on my breeder hive on the 24th and inspected it on the 27th. The queen was in the upper deep where I wanted her and she is laying. The lower deep now contains 8+ queen cells and once capped, I will be making some splits of the hive.

July 4 - Split the original bottom deep of the garden hive into three hives with capped queen cells in all.

July 8 - Robbers are hitting two of the new hives and I have be unable to get to stop. Moved them to the shire. The third hive is in the original location of the garden hive and appears ok.

Jul 12 - 2nd of five splits is laying

Jul 21 - All but one of the new hives are laying, the remaining one has a capped queen cell.

Jul 17 - Goldenrod is starting to bloom and we harvested 32# of capped honey from our Billings hives.

Jul 30 - removed 7 full supers from the Shire hives and replaced new undrawn super on each. One of the two splits has a capped cell that is not hatching nor are the bees tearing it down. Multiple eggs in cells, possibly a laying worker. Comb does show where queens have hatched and been torn down. Either a badly mated queen or she didn't make it back from the mating flight.

360 pounds of honey for the year, mostly from the two hives at the shire.

Jul 31 - Moved one of the strong earlier splits to the shire from home.

Sept 1 - All the splits from July have failed, either by the queens not getting mated and/or hive beetles which have been bad this year.

Sept 17 - Applied an OA vapor treatment to the breeder hive.

Nov 1 - All hives have had an OA vapor application, entrance restricters are on, and bottom boards are on. Hive beetles have been terrible this year and we have been using Beetle Traps with Mann Lake Beetle Trap Oil which seems to working well. Of the six hives, all look well populated out except for one at the shire and I will begin feeding it syrup shortly. I am not seeing varroa mites on the bottom boards at all this season since using OA.

Dec 6 - Put sugar boards on all the hives but the breeder hive. Hay bales places around the hives at the Shire. The rest of the hive have natural wind breaks.

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