September 24 - October 16

We fed the bees around 11 times. 1 - 1.5 kg of sugar in a 2:1 syrup solution each time. On October 15 we saw little evidence of capped honey in the upped warré box, and the outer combs appeared as thought they could be empty. The middle frames of the nuc contained reasonably large patches o capped brood. On one of those frames we also found a queen cup containing many eggs and on the following frame we saw the queen. On the 16th, With the cooling tempratures, the bees had not taken down any of the feed we had left them on the 15th. At this point we turned the top feeder into a quilt filled with saw dust.

November 13

As there was high amounts of DWV in this yard over the fall, we decided to use an organic mite treatment. As we quickly applied the oxalic acid dribble, we saw a modest, but encouraging number of bees for a colony which has struggled to get going all season. In the warré box we obsevered bees on all but the outer-most combs and in lang nuc adapter box there were two combs of bees. On the other hand, this leaves us concerned that they might not have enough stores for winter despite our efforts to feed them. We added 1.5" spacer box under the quilt and used this space to provide about 2.5 kg of dry sugar on top of newspaper as an emergency food supply.

November 15

As it was getting dark and we were cold the previous day, we came back to give the hive tar paper wrap for winter. The high for the day was around 11 degrees celcius and the bees were flying, and to our surprise even bringing back some pollen:

Mid-November and they are still foragingPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

 

August 5

Very little comb started in the new box.

IMGP2006Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The brood frame we seeded was almost all hatched out, with no signs of more laying in this box.

IMGP2000Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2002Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Solid amounts of capped brood above in the nuc box adapter.

IMGP2012Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Lots of pollen in the bottom box that we moved up to make it feel more like a brood nest.

IMGP2007Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

August 29

IMGP2170Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Bottom warré had 3.5 combs mostly pollen and another comb just getting started

Top warré - Still one completely undrawn comb. 6 combs well on their way and another started.

Contained mostly nectar.

IMGP2173Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2179Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

A few frames with small patches of eggs squeezed in.

IMGP2174Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

We saw the queen down in here.

IMGP2176Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

As it appeared she could use more room to lay we moved the least filled and half started frames from the bottom box up and moved the undrawn frames down.

September 10

IMGP2385Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The bottom warré 1 comb with pollen and nectar and another empty. 2 combs just started and another half built.

The top warré

IMGP2386Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

had some very yellow comb. From left to right it contained 2 combs of pollen and nectar,

IMGP2387Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2388Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

capped brood and lots of pollen,

IMGP2390Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

5 frames of nectar and a little capped honey

IMGP2391Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

We moved up a pollen and nectar frame and one empty comb to try and provide more room to lay.

The nuc had 1 frame with all nectar on it's way to honey

IMGP2393Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

and 3 others about half and half honey and brood.

IMGP2394Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

We spotted the queen up here.

IMGP2395Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The brood seems minimal, and we can't help but wonder if it's because the queen was comprimised by pesticides before we bought it. The pattern of what brood there is does look a little healthier than that of the other colony we bought from the same breeder which has now lost their queen. They did get started too late in the spring but I would have thought that they have the resources for at least a little more than this by now.

July 11

We started checking the new box we seeded with a frame last visit.

IMGP1793Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

They had four combs well on their way and a fifth one started. All of them perfectly straight.

IMGP1794Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1796Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1797Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1799Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

fresh white waxPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

A little less than I thought they might have built in two weeks but still pretty good. The only problem is I wanted them to start using this box for brood. Instead it was nectar and a bit of pollen. I guess the seed comb didn't have enough eggs to entice nurse bees and the queen to come down.

Fortunately, there was still good amounts of brood up top. A frame full of eggs and young larva:

IMGP1802Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Two others full of capped brood:

IMGP1807Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1811Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Capping honey on the fourth frame:

IMGP1814Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

To me this looks like the queen is not able to lay as much as she might like and they are putting more energy into building up stores than building comb than I would like. I checkered the combs in the bottom box to see if that would help put an emphasis on comb building. It would also help ensure they build those combs straight on the frames.

We opened up the entrance reducer a bit.

July 12th

I felt I needed to add another seed comb to the nuc and see if my luck at baiting the queen to come down will be better the second time. I was worried about the potential of a crisis developing from a small population and reduced space to lay if they didn't start making new brood comb right away.

I had to uncap a little bit of honey to make space for my bait frame in the nuc box. A little was enough and I was able to do it quick and smoothly without much fuss.

Rain water had accumulated in the container I had left with crushed comb. Bees were drinking from it, but it was also attracting wasps and hornets.

July 16th

We had entered a heat wave. It was 33 degrees Celsius.

The sweet white clover blooming very close to the hive was very popular with the girls.

Sweet white clover in leasidePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Despite the heat, there didn't seem to be significant amount of bearding. Of course their numbers are not very high. Just steady fanning at the entrance.

IMGP1860Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The temperature on top of the roof was high:

temperature of painted metal hive roofPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

But the temperature just above the brood was perfect:

Beehive temprature above the brood nestPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Warmer air, however, was recorded at the entrance:

IMGP1869Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

They had a decent sized comb going on the bait frame. Some nectar on top, but a good number of eggs under that.

IMGP1871Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

I had modified the bar I use to hold my warré fram in the lang nuc with wooden blocks to prevent extra comb being built on the sides of the frame. It worked perfectly. In the bottom box They now had seven combs in the works. I seeded the new warré comb with the eggs in a new box in between the nuc and the other warré box.

I opened up the entrance a little bit more and placed some tree branches on the roof to provide some relief, if only temporary from the heat.

IMGP1877Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

This did quickly drop the temperature on the outside of the roof.

IMGP1876Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Either the bees and wasps drank all the water in the feed container or it evaporated. The heat also melted the wax in there:

IMGP1862Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

I scraped it clean, added in a float to prevent drowning and left a bit of water:

IMGP1880Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The bucket water feeder system I had left them when we first set up the bees still had some amount of water. I'm yet to see a bee use it. My design probably needs some improvments.

 

June 20th

We had ordered package bees back in January, but we had trouble getting the breeder to give us the bees. As it was starting to get late in the season, I whipped together two more nuc to warré adapters and we bought nuc's from a different breeder instead. Here they are buckled in on the back seat of my parents car.

Bee hives buckled into the back seat of my parents carPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Using nucs meant we had a little more weight to haul up to the roof. We just used a rope, tried to set the angles to our advantage and pulled.

getting the hive ready to liftPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

It worked, but as we anticipate heavy honey boxes needing to descend from the roof in the future, we are going to try and source a hoist with brakes.

June 27th

We named this colony Sky. Things were relatively quiet around the entrance but it was a cloudy day.

The breeder gave us frames from different colonies so the queen had been placed in a cage.

4 frame nuc for the sky hive + the warré starter framePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

They built a whole lot of comb on the empty frame we placed in the nuc to seed the warré shaped box below. The comb mostly contained nectar, but there were a few eggs present.

warré seed frame almost filled outPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Lots of brood on three of the other nuc box frames:

lots of broodPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

more broodPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

and a frame with a good amount of food:

the honey framePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

We moved the warré seed frame down. The comb built on the side of the frame was trimmed off and squished in around the top bars of the nuc.

The waste of comb is extremely disappointing and has proven to be largest drawback to this method of encouraging the bees to move down into the warré box. It caught me by surprise as I had started comb for a top bar hive in a similar way last year and expected the sides to be the last place they would build comb. In the future I will have to consider blocking off the side gaps around the frame so this doesn't happen.