July 11

The nuc box had lots of  brood.

IMGP1817Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1819Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1821Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

and a frame with one side of capped honey.

IMGP1828Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The warré box had four combs established and one started. All only containing nectar. All very straight combs

IMGP1830Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1831Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP1832Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

They didn't expand their brood nest down. We moved the nectar to the sides and the undrawn to the centre. This was a bit of a disappointment as we are really eager for them to expand their population.

July 12

Added a new warré frame to the nuc box, in the hopes we can use it to encourage brood nest expansion.

July 16

Very hot day, during the middle of a heat wave in an otherwise cool summer.

The built a decent size comb on the warré frame added to the nuc box.

IMGP1874Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Some nectar on the top and loads of eggs. We seeded this frame in a new box placed between the bottom warré box and the top nuc adapter box.

The bottom box had only one new comb started. I moved this to the centre, leaving an empty frame on either side.

The entrance was looking a little crowded.

IMGP1861Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

So I opened up the reducer to about half way.

IMGP1878Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

August 5

Only two new combs and a little bit started in the new box.

IMGP2013Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Most of the brood had hatched out on the original seed frame.

IMGP2019Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

We also had some young brood and eggs, and possibly some drone brood on the new combs.

IMGP2024Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The bottom box had loads of pollen and small amounts of honey. I moved a little up to be close to the brood and scored some of the honey.

Still lots of brood in the top nuc box. Though the pattern might be verging on spotty.

IMGP2026Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2027Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

IMGP2028Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Still just the one side of comb with solid honey. I scorred it to see if that could help stimulate more comb building and brood.

I walked around the area but had a hard time figuring out where they might be foraging. Their were a few houses in the neighbourhood with pollinator gardens but I didn't see any honeybees there. Around the railway tracks and the power line cooridor the sweet clover was still in bloom but I only saw a few bees. There's a substantial amount of goldenrod about to bloom. Hopefully that will give them a good fall flow and get them prepared for winter.

July 20th

The bottom box had four combs started and one little bit. They built  perpendicular again on the east side of the hive near the entrance. The seed frame was hatching out but no other new brood. One frame  was well on its way to becoming honey.

The middle box had a good mix of capped and some young brood and eggs.

The top box had its west most frame on its way to honey, the middle two still had loads of capped brood with some honey.

August 4th

It was a windy day and the hive still seemed fairly quiet by 11 am

The top warré box:

IMGP1948Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

The bottom warré box:

IMGP1950Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Both boxes had loads of brood and a small amount of pollen and nectar.

IMGP1949Photo by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

All frames were significantly drawn, but leaving a bee space at the bottom bar of the frames.

I nadired a new box with two seed combs (one from each box above). I didn't check the conversion box with the lang frames.

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 started the stars hive just beside the sky hive. We left a container of crystalized crushed comb mixed with water in an open feed container.

June 27th

It had rained recently so we couldn't determine if they had taken any of the honey feed as the container still contained water.

The lids on both the sky and the stars hive already had noticebly more propolis going on then the other hives we started this year.

They also did some serious work on the warré seed frame that we left in the nuc box. Contained nectar, some pollen and a few eggs. It's interesting to see that the colour of their comb was a bright white, whereas the new comb in the sky hive had more of a yellow shade. Evidence each hive has focused on different nectar sources?

bright white wax of the stars hivePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Quite a bit of comb had to be trimmed off the sides. We flipped the bottom board to the wider setting and left the comb there.

Too much comb was built on the side of the hivePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

In the nuc box we saw three frames with decent amounts of capped brood

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

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

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

Spotted our marked queen on the feed frame.

queen searching for space on the honey combPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Their population looks set to take off significantly in the coming weeks, and it looks like there is good flow for comb building at the moment.

stars nuc box with the warré seed frame removedPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

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.

One of the first things you are likely to see when setting up a new hive are forager bees on orientation flights. Bees hovering in front of and circling around are learning the landmarks of the new location. An important step in ensuring they will be able to find their home again after searching for flowers. In the following video we see the activity around the hive after being placed in a new location. You can see a stark contrast in the flight patterns around the hive in the first few days as compared with the last day:

You will also see this behaviour in hives that are already established at a location as younger bees develop into foragers and leave the hive for the first time, typically, this behaviour will not be as pronounced as when moving a hive.

It is possible to confuse robbing with orientation flights. If the bees are young and fuzzy and they are peacefully entering and exiting the hive it is most likely orientation flights.

June 12th

We started this hive with a nuc-to-warré converter box, very similar to what we did with the sun hive. As the four-frame nuc was a little low on capped brood the breeder gave us a bonus frame filled on both sides with capped brood. The other four frames contained good amounts of pollen and there was some amount of eggs on each frame. The population seemed good, but not as strong as the sun hive. We gave this hive 500 ml of 1:1 sugar water.

June 19th

Most cells seemed to be in use for brood or food. A good number of eggs.

look into the nuc boxPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

One side of the solid brood frame had hatched out, but the other side was still capped.

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

We spotted our dark queen bee.

dark queen beePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

They hadn't touched the sugar water. We removed it and replaced it with some crystalized crushed honey comb mixed with a little water.

June 23rd

Bees hanging in the bottom warré box but no comb. So we added a frame with comb and eggs started in the sun hive.

Comb started for the moon hivePhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

They had cleaned up all the honey comb we left them last time.

cleaned up crushed combPhoto by: Shawn Caza / CC: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License