November 4

Due to high mite levels we gave the bees a oxalic acid dribble.

The temprature was around 4 degrees celcius and no bees were flying. We finally saw some honey in the bottom box. The hive wasn't as heavy as it was but still had some weight. Most of the bees seemed to be clustered towards the eastern side of the box, thus the cluster is a little more tall and narrow rather than the ideal fat and round. We did see some small amount of mold on the edges of the top bar cloth above the cluster. This suggested to me that their was a lot of moisture from the feed to evaporate and the insulation from the quilt may not be sufficiently effective at the very edge.

hive wrapped for winterPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

We wrapped with tar paper and wished them luck.

September 20

Drones on the bottom board. No doubt they are being corralled out of the hive.

IMGP2554Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

No signs that any honey had been stored in the bottom box

IMGP2552Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2548Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The middle box still had some honey, but no evidence they had replaced any of the honey they ate in August.

IMGP2545Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2544Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The box we had moved to the top last time still only contained a few combs and a small amount of nectar. So we moved it back to the bottom, thinking the bees will move the nectar up and we will be able to remove this box in the future.

IMGP2546Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Only one comb in this box had been used for brood. The average cell size for seventeen cells in this photo seems to be around 5.26.

cell size of new comb from colony in 3rd year living on all natural combPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

This is the brood comb that was originally started in the box where every other frame contained nectar or honey.

September 29 - October 12

The bottom box was found empty and removed. The queen was spotted laying on the eastern edge of the top box. Looking at her gave me little doubt she is the same queen we saw in the spring and that no supercedure had taken place.

As the hive was too light for winter we began feeding. 4kg of sugar in a 2:1 syrup mix was given on each of the following days: Sept. 29, Oct. 3 and Oct. 5. On Oct. 5 there were still no signs of capped honey in the bottom box. By Oct. 10th they had only finished about half of the syrup provided during the last visit and I replaced it with another 2kg. By October 12 bees could still be seen drinking from the feeder but almost all of it was still there. The feeder was removed. The hive had gained a reasonable weight by this time, and the smell of ripening honey was present at the entrance. We added an entrance reducer.

August 11

The first signs of goldenrod are showing around the hive.

IMGP2065Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2066Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The bottom box was fairly quiet.

IMGP2067Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Still empty frames in there.

IMGP2072Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Looks like the seed comb hatched out and they started using it for nectar and pollen.

IMGP2069Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The middle box looked the same as always with a few combs of brood.

IMGP2073Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The top box was loaded with capped honey and nectar

IMGP2079Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

August 29th

The goldenrod is really starting to light up the fields

IMGP2215Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

fields of goldenrodPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Of course lots of bees were visiting.

honeybee sipping on the goldenrodPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The bees had eaten into much of the necar and honey in the top box and significantly expanded their brood nest

look under the top bar clothPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Ate their honey stores and laid broodPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

brood combPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2201Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Middle box still had a bit of brood and not much else:

look at warré brood boxPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

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

The bottom box, hadn't changed much since the last visit. We moved it to the top thinking they might need a honey super

IMGP2215Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Loads of bees at the entrance.

busy hive entrancePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The bees keep surprising us, but I think we can see some logic in their behaviour and now have a better idea of what to expect next time.

July 24

The bottom box has filled out nicely and even contains a fair bit of honey.

IMGP1930Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

This was the least developed frame in the box:

IMGP1929Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Only one frame down here contained some eggs. The rest was all being used for stores.

In the top box a few combs had brood almost finishing to hatch out:

IMGP1931Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

and young larvae:

IMGP1932Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

I'm fairly certain this is the third round of brood raised by the split in fifty days. As it started with only young brood, this a fair bit shorter than you would expect in a hive with foundation. It looks like the natural comb is indeed speeding up bee development time. 

I placed the bottom box with the honey on top, took out the comb with the eggs to seed a new box on the bottom, leaving the top box with 7 combs, and removed the entrance reducer. As the population has expanded, hopefully they will start to work a larger brood nest and really kick their growth into high gear.