Observation Hive

Bee related information that doesnt fit any where else

Moderators: Wally, Jacobs

Post Reply
Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Observation Hive

Post by Jacobs » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:52 pm

I am having fun trying to manage the observation hive that Wally has loaned me. It is the one that I had at our field day, and as of today's posting, is pictured on our home page. The bees I placed in it in April are still going. They had very little food stores and seemed lethargic this past week or so. They were not even going to the jar of honey water in the attached feeder. I took advantage of the warm afternoon to open the hive and replace the top empty medium frame with a frame of capped honey.

Wow!

The bees went nuts! They broke cluster, made for the honey, and started using their entrance to make flights. I think I remember reading in Langstroth that bees with too little food may be lethargic, but will show better spirits when fed.

I'm going to take advantage of tomorrow's warm temperatures to tilt my other hives, and if necessary, to add frames of honey above the clusters.

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Observation Hive

Post by Jacobs » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:27 pm

The bees have eaten over half of the stores in the top medium and I am having to make plans for future honey needs. I have temporarily moved the hive indoors since the temperature on my back porch is so cold despite being enclosed.

The queen is laying at this point with a little capped brood and some larvae. There is very little pollen in the hive, so I'm going to have to do something about supplementing that as well. If this small number of bees is starting to brood up, I can imagine what is going on in full sized hives.

Wally
Guard bee
Posts: 1702
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:35 pm
Location: Randleman

Re: Observation Hive

Post by Wally » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:11 pm

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will eliminate any excess brood in the outdoor hives. The only brood that will survive is what they can cover in full cluster mode. If it warms in the later part of the week, you may see larva on the front porch and ground in front of the hives.

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Observation Hive

Post by Jacobs » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:39 am

The 2014 adventures with this hive are in the "2 Package 3 Queen" post. The extra queen from a package of bees was never a strong layer. This made it easier to manage the observation hive during the show season. The bees did not make it past the first cold blast with a cluster the size of the palm of my hand.

I re-populated the observation hive yesterday afternoon. One of my hives at Brown Summit had several queen cells (not just cups), drones, and drone brood. I saw larvae, but very few eggs. I found the queen and took 2 frames from the hive. I shook extra bees into the cardboard nuc box and brought them home. After a few hours, the bees were figuring out the new style entrance to the observation hive. Workers are touching the abdomen of the queen as if to encourage egg laying, but I have not seen her back into a cell yet. If she settles in and starts laying, I'll try and mark her before the start of presentations.

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Observation Hive

Post by Jacobs » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:41 am

I am still concerned because I have not seen any eggs in the observation hive and the bees have been trying to encourage egg laying. I was considering removing the queen and beginning the process of replacing her, but this morning, for the first time, the foragers are bringing in significant amounts of pollen. I guess I will give it a few more days to see if she is going to start laying. The hive of origin is a bit of a mystery. I don't know if there were queen problems and she is a new replacement or if they were preparing for an early swarm. I'll have to keep a close eye on that hive as well as the observation hive. If this is a new queen, it is hard to imagine that she is adequately mated.

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Observation Hive

Post by Jacobs » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:37 pm

This afternoon when it hit 60°F, I took one frame out of the observation hive and replaced it with a frame of capped brood, eggs and larvae from my strongest hive here at the house. I also marked the queen. It will be interesting to see if the brood frame will stimulate the queen to start laying or if the bees will use the newly available larvae to start supercedure cells.

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Observation Hive

Post by Jacobs » Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:18 pm

The queen I marked and boosted with frames of brood never did pick up her laying. She produced some eggs, but not enough to maintain hive population. I replaced her with a newly mated queen from swarm cells in one of my hives. That queen is filling up frames with brood.

I put the poor queen in the nuc I took her replacement from. 24 hours later, she was still alive and walking on the comb. A few days after that, she was nowhere to be seen and there were 3-4 supercedure cells in the nuc. I checked yesterday afternoon, and the new queen has been laying just long enough to have a few larvae in cells and a nice pattern of eggs. She will be the 5th new queen from my 1 hive at the house that attempted to swarm. This has been an excellent year for getting queens mated and back safely at my house. I expect this will get harder as drone numbers start to diminish.

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1405
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Observation Hive

Post by Jacobs » Wed Aug 24, 2016 7:31 am

This has been another challenging season for the observation hive. This one only made 1 presentation this season. I got to see a queen replaced and a new queen start laying. The hive looked good and was building nicely, and then within a week's time, the population collapsed and the brood pattern went from solid to very scattered. As best I can tell, parasitic mite syndrome brought this hive down. Bees that were ready to, but unable to emerge, were deformed.

I brought the queenless bees from a trapout at the Kathleen Clay Edwards branch of the library home this morning. I misted the hand full of observation bees and queen and the trapout bees with sugar water and directly combined them in a medium nuc. I will check later today to see how the combining went.

Post Reply