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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bee Season is Here!!!

Well folks, bee season at the Quicksall Honey Bee Farm is in full swing!  Today, Aaron and I worked the hives creating two splits with queen cells from last year's Hive #4, which was the East Hive from 2010.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The other weekend I placed a couple of empty hives out to serve as swarm traps.  One is a nuc that I placed on a deer stand in the woods, and the other is a single deep hive on a childrens tower that has been turned into a deer stand.  Maybe I'll find a spring surprise in one or both of these.  I also have two single deeps in the river bottom.

I took a few photos inside the hive today.  This photo is of a frame of pollen.  Bees use pollen as their protein food source.  Notice the different colors of pollen from different plants.

As I examined Hive #4 I found what I was expecting: Queen Cells.  This hive is getting ready to swarm, and I found them none to soon.  In another week I would have lost half my hive when the Queen left 3 days before the new queens hatched.  The Queen Cells are large cells found on the bottom of the frames.

The funny round cells on the actual honey comb is Drone Cell; this is where the male bees are raised.  The are made 2-3 weeks before the queen cells, because Drones don't become sexually mature until Day 42, where Virgin Queens are ready to mate around Day 20.

I placed each frame with Queen Cells into one of my new Nuc boxes, along with honey and pollen frames and the bees on the frames.  Now I will feed them sugar water and see if they raise the new Queens so I have two additional hives.

Who can find the Queen???? 

Here you can see what some of my goofy bees from my weakest hive did.  The built honey comb on the bottom of the feeding frame.  Rather than place the valuable wax onto a frame, they build it in the extra space under the feeding jars....unfortunately, I have to scrape this was away, and there was brood in the comb.

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