Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Queenless Problem Fixed but I'm Still Waiting for Honey...

Funny thing happened last week---one of my hives swarmed...again!  This time I witnessed them leaving their swarm spot in the tree going to their new home; so I have no idea which hive this swarm came from or when the swarm happened.  Thankfully it was a small swarm and I couldn't keep it anyway because my hives are full.  It was an amazing sight to witness though because they moved together in a swirling motion as one large cloud as they went across my yard and then across the street in the wooded area behind my neighbor's house.  I don't know where their final resting place was, but I have been told there is a beekeeper on that street so hopefully the bees will be taken care of.

Today I decided to check both hives.  The queenless hive that I had introduced the swarm to, now has larvae so I know there is a queen present in this hive. Whew!  There is always the fear of killing or injuring the queen during the swarm catch and transfer into the hive.

For any beekeepers reading this, I need your help!  Both hives have had honey supers on for almost two months now and there is no new comb built!  Last summer one hive drew out about 3 frames of comb and partially capped honey so I saved it for this year because I didn't think it was worth the time to harvest that little bit of honey.  The only frames that have comb built this year, are those same frames that were built last year (they have repaired the broken comb, added more honey, and capped it).  I've taken the queen excluders off for two weeks to give the queen a chance to walk on the frames to emit her pheromones; and I've smeared sugar syrup all over the frames to entice them.  Nothing seems to work.  The brood boxes in both hives are absolutely packed to the gills with nectar and capped honey.  In fact, if I remove frames, I end up destroying comb and capped honey (which becomes a real mess) because they build the frames out really wide.  Help anyone??

Update: July 22,2011
This week I sent an email to the Zenger Farm bee listserve about the bees not building wax in the honey supers.  One member suggested I spread melted beeswax onto the frames to entice the bees.  I decided to give this a try!  Honeybees just love beeswax and are drawn to it...quickly.  I forgot to close the back door and had several visitors in my home.  No big deal really, just a reminder...

I melted the beeswax in a stainless steel pan that I dedicate to beeswax melting only

Using an old pastry brush, I spread the wax on the front and back of all frames.  Just like the pan, this pastry brush will now only be used for beeswax. 


2 comments :

Christopher Beeson July 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM  

Hi,

I think you were correct in removing the queen excluder. The bees won't draw comb on foundation if the excluder is there.

They'd rather over pack themselves in the brood boxes than try to squeeze through the excluder with their wax.

:)

Got to watch so they don't make themselves honey bound in the brood boxes(no room to lay eggs) or else they'll have an urge to swarm.

Out of curiosity, did they finish filling in the partial frames in the super from last year with nectar?

If you're in a bit of a nectar dearth (like we are here in St. Louis MO), it is almost impossible to get them to draw out any wax.

You'd probably be fine to leave the super on there a while and it will be there in case they feel like drawing it out.

Keep us posted!!

Chris

Show Me The Honey

Holly July 22, 2011 at 2:57 PM  

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the post!

I haven't done a really thorough inspection in the bottom supers this summer. The bees really glued everything together and there's a lot of burr comb. Last year I was in the hives every 2 weeks cleaning all of that out which I felt really stressed the bees. This year I'm trying to be a little less involved. So...I don't know if they're too honey bound in the top brood box??

Yes, they have fully built out the comb on the partially filled honey super frames from last year. I just updated my post today with another trick I'm trying---spreading melted wax onto the empty frames.

We'll see what happens!
Holly

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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