Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back on Track

One full week and nary a drowned bee. I've converted the feeders in both hives to a homemade setup based on something I read from another beekeeper in a beekeeping forum. The new method of feeding allows me to check the feeders every day without disturbing the hives.

Galway is thriving. Four of the third story frames are already drawn. I could be adding a fourth story by the end of next week. When I do add the fourth story, I will pull the feeder from that hive because that level will be for storing honey for harvest.

Clare is a different story. It is not thriving, rather it seems to be merely surviving. It still has only 4 frames of the second story drawn. The bees seem to have stopped drawing new comb and are simply reusing existing frames. There was capped brood and larvae. I'd like to say whether or not there were eggs but my eyes are still having a tough time picking them up.

I did not see the queen but I wasn't really looking for her. Rather, I was looking at the brood pattern, pollen stores, and general condition of the frames. There were no queen cells on any of the frames and the bees seemed calm enough but things just didn't seem quite right.

Now that I've got the feeder issue squared away I'm going to give them a bit more time and see how things go. Clare had the bad drowning problem and they may need more time to recover. Up until the drowning issue both hives were performing almost identically.

I'm going to ask around and see if I can get an experienced beekeeper to help me with the next inspection of Clare. There may be some things I can do to give the colony a boost like grabbing a frame or two of brood from Galway but I'd prefer getting insight from someone more experienced before taking that action. I'll keep you posted.

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