Thursday, April 21, 2016

Transferring the wild bees to a hive

We had to make a quick trip to New Hampshire so I couldn't get back to the bees for a week. The old comb has been in a box, separated by 3/8 inch spacers (that's the natural distance bees keep between combs. The bees have to be transferred to a movable comb hive. So to start I move the box about 10 feet away and put an empty box in its place, and add a comb of brood, a comb of pollen, and a comb of honey from another hive.

Comb removed from the barn and stored temporarily in a hive box
The combs are shaken into the new box with regular frames in it.
The new box is placed on the original stand
The old comb containing brood is put over a queen excluder in the hive from which I borrowed the brood. I'll take it out again when the brood has hatched and melt it into beeswax. 
The queen didn't survive the transfer, so the bees made queen cells from the young larvae. Most of them were small and would yield inferior queens. I killed them, but saved this frame. I'll have to move it before they hatch. Virgin queens might squeeze through the queen excluder and kill the other queen below. She is due to hatch in about 3 days. The rest of the brood on the comb will be hatched in about 14 days.
3 queen cells

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