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Pictures: Removing the Queen Cages

18th May 2007

Pictures: Removing the Queen Cages

posted in Our Hives |

In these we opened the hives and removed the queen cages- my post about that was made on Tuesday. Pictures are below the cut.

Opening the Hive 1: ElizabethOpening the Hive 1: Elizabeth
Meet Elizabeth (Cady Stanton)! She was neglected in our previous pictures, so we’re focusing on her in this batch. This is Elizabeth topless (sorry!), with the tight-fitting and fairly weatherproof outer cover removed. You can see the inner cover, which goes directly over the hive body and frames, and some bees both on it and through the hole. The hole is useful for various aspects of hive management, and the inner cover provides some dead airspace that helps with insulation in cold weather.

Opening the Hive 2 Opening the Hive 2
Here the inner cover is off. You can see my hand spraying sugar syrup on the girls; this mellows them out and distracts them from getting upset that their hive is being messed with. The brown gunk in the paper is artificial pollen- it’s a nutrient designed to simulate pollen in nourishing brood. In the 3 days they’ve had it they’ve eaten at least a third, which is promising and indicates that the queen has started laying. Right next to the upper pollen patty and sonewhat obscured by bees, you can see a silver rectangle; this is the flange that is holding the queen cage up and between 2 of the frames. We need to take it out and make sure the queen has been released. You can see they’re not very upset- there’s one flying, but I don’t think she was buzzing me particularly, and most are just going about their business.

Opening the Hive 3 Opening the Hive 3
The queen cage is out and empty- at least of a queen! there were a few girls in and on it, but not very many. Pretty much anything in a hive ends up with some bees on and in it! I am starting to move all the frames parallel to each other so we can add the 10th one to the hive. That gives the bees the spacing they like, and encourages them to build comb in nice neat sheets in the frames. Each frame has an insert of beeswax-coated plastic that is molded into shallow hexagonal cells, which the bees will (probably) use to guide their building of the rest of the comb, and which will discourage them from making drone cells since we want workers much more than we want drones! (If one does want drones, one can buy foundation with larger cells, for instance if one is planning on raising queens, or for some techniques of mite control.)

Closing the Hive Closing the Hive
I’m putting the inner cover back on Elizabeth. I think the drizzle actually helped the bees not get worked up- plus, it didn’t take very long to do this stuff! She’s a nice, mellow hive, and all seems to be going well with her. Mary was pretty much the same… but our Susan threw us a few loops!

Elizabeth, in all her glory Elizabeth, in all her glory
And here’s the whole hive at the moment! The stand is about 18 inches tall and makes it harder for skunks to use her as a dispenser of tasty snacks. (Skunks think bees are yummy.) The stick under the feeder is supporting it a bit, but it doesn’t really need it; the stick is an entrance reducer that can be put in the hive entrance to block off most of it. We are now using them as such, because it’s been really cold and that will help the bees keep the hives warm. They need it to be in the 80sF in general, and in the mid 90s around the brood!

Susan: close-up Susan: close-up
Some of Susan’s girls coming and going. This was after we’d gotten the queen cage out, with all that entailed for her, but before the queen had finally successfully been released (which happened the next morning).


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This entry was posted on Friday, May 18th, 2007 at 3:34 pm and is filed under Our Hives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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