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Monday, September 6, 2010

Hive Inspection

I may be moving my hives that are at my secondary location. This is the same location that the Chupacabra got into one of my hives last year, see the crime scene post. This year I have no honey. In fact I am worried about the survival of the hive over winter.

There is supposed to be a second honey run in Sept October here in Texas so I am hoping they will make enough honey for the winter. I may need to start feeding them now, but I want to wait and see if they can make it on their own.

A few weeks back I stopped by and found a major pile of dead bees under my hive. I thought that maybe it had been sprayed by the pest control company. They had sprayed the yard a couple weeks before. It very will may have. But they assured me that they have nothing that will kill bees on their regular trucks. "If you want us to spray for bees we have send different people with different chemicals", they said. Reguardless, I did not see any bees flying that day, while they should have been. I had written them off as gonners.

Oh, and I didn't ask for the yard to be sprayed. The story is too long for here. I was upset when I learned of the spaying but could do nothing.

Now back to your previously started story. Yesterday, I decided to go and assess the damage. I was surprised at what I found. A hive full of bees. No honey to speak of and no pollen to speak of but a lot of bees. So I started digging.

Frame after frame of empty comb came out of my topbar hive. the comb was all dark and well walked over. Eventuall I found a few little spots of honey and a few specks of pollen. As I continued I found very little capped or open brood. At this point I felt like this was a lost cause but I kept digging.

In the end I counted 19 bars of comb. I did eventually find some brood and several queen cells. I even spotted the queen. She was not the marked clipped queen I started the hive with so they must have already requeened themself.

It looks like either they don't have enough food source to survive, or their queen failed or got sprayed, or for some other reason they barely made it through the summer. What ever the cause they don't have much in the way of food stores.

But the queen is rite. There were spots of brood scattered across several brood combs and each had a queen cell or two. Then near the entrance was a tight cluster in the center of a couple bar of comb. It was on two bars but 3 sides working from the entrance. There was plenty of young and uncapped brood too. So it would seem they have survivied whatever the disaster and are on the mend.

I need to check them again each week for a while to see how they are preparing for winter. I hope I don't need to move them. I really don't have a new place. I guess I better get one, just in case.