Got into what was formerly my weak hive.
Had some tasks to take care of and it’s too nice a day to sit inside and listen to Primus 🙂
First, props to Jerry Borger for the smoker fuel tip – rolled up cardboard is da bomb! Lasts longer than cotton fuzz – things still out by the hives smoking away. It usually went out about the time i needed it before.
The hive setup is 2 large 10 frame boxes with a medium box above those. The medium had a feeder in it and I wanted to eliminate it, I believe there’s enough nectar out there now to allow them to draw comb and make stores for winter. Pulled the feeder out of the medium box and set it aside to the ladies could finish feeding, clean it out, and go home.
Next box down had drawn comb on 8 1/2 frames. Lovely brood pattern, pollen and honey around that, not to mention the 2 full frames of honey, leaving 4 frames of brood, and 2 1/2 frames of comb under construction.
Bottom box has the frames from the NUC. 2 of them were medium frames that the ladies had added comb to turn them into large frames. Inspected frames, again nice tight brood pattern, pollen, and honey. Scooped 1/2 cup of bees off the middle frame, poured them into a handy jar, added sugar, and rolled them around for quite a while. Shook the sugar out into a big white bowl, put the candy coated ladies back into the hive. I bet they will be popular for a while.
Reassembled the hive, added a queen excluder and frames to the box that formerly housed the feeder. Put the top on.
Now for the part i had been dreading – mite count time. A gentle wash to dissolve the sugar yielded 2 mites from 1/2 cup of bees means 1% if my grasp of “new math” is not too precarious. They sure are tiny! This was seat of the pants confirmed by looking at the drone larva i saw as I ripped their cozy drone cells open like Godzilla lunching on Tokyo. I didn’t see any in the probably 50 cells I tore open to look at the larvae. Seemed kind of brutal but since there was a fair number of drone cells I figured it was ok.
No queen cups or cells were seen, so for now the ladies have enough room.
May try my hand at splits in a few weeks, depending on how strong everything looks at next inspect (yeah, I know, just leave them alone)