Monday, July 11, 2011

Hot bees!

It's been going up in 110's lately here.  Last night the hived swarm (of N weeks) had tons of bees bearding for the first time ever.  Gobs of bees outside the hive.  No fighting, so I knew it wasn't being robbed.  So this morning, while it was a mere 80 degrees, I went out to see what was going on.  (forgot to paste this paragraph earlier!)

Several of their combs had collapsed.  It was sad.  Empty frames with large combs falling over.  I had a spare deep box ready and ran into the house and found a whole bag of good rubber bands.  First I put the still standing  combs in the spare deep and set it aside.  Then I did what I've read about for cutouts.  I picked up the fallen comb (which is covered in bees of course) and set it gently on a flat surface inside a frame.  Then I wrapped lots of rubber bands on it to hold it in place.  I did this for the 3 fallen combs that were mostly brood.   I put those back in the bottom deep with a bunch of empty frames.  I put the bits of comb that had mostly nectar on top of the inner cover, covered by an empty deep then the outer cover for the bees to regain their nectar.  (Honey is too heavy to hold in with rubber bands, it just squishes and leaks everywhere.

so now they have 2 deeps, perhaps a wee bit prematurely, and an empty deep over the inner cover.  Shouldn't have problems keeping the brood warm, but might have issues keeping them cool.   I can only hope the queen survived the ordeal
Click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Also checked on the big hive that hadn't worked on more than 2 frames in the 3rd deep.  They had some open brood, and I saw an empty queen cell.  They also have several empty frames in the lower deeps.  I'll just watch and wait on that one.  Might feed it later to get some comb drawn, and not pull "honey" from it, of course.

Update: Saturday July 16.  They are doing well, connecting comb, drawing new comb and they have lots of queen cells a few of which are capped.  Guess the old queen didn't make it through the collapse.  
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  1. I hate that. This weather is just over the top wrong, worst I've seen since I had just graduated high school, in '80. Cool water near the hive so they can have a drink? I know wasps like to drink out of our fountain next to our water trough.

  2. Oh, my goodness! What a dramatic way to begin your day! I sure hope the hives recover as a result of your heroic efforts. Let me know if you need anything (aside from me interacting with bees, of course).

  3. We have plenty of water around for them. The bigger hives are managing to keep cool. I think it's just hard on the little hive since they don't have the numbers to maintain temp as well. I've seen similar reports from other beeks on single hives melting. I hope their new attic will help.

  4. Hi Homer and Dana, didn't know you had a blog.
    The bees and beekeeper are both suffering from the heat here. Not only a dearth of nectar, but also pollen I believe. But many hives in Tulsa actually made a lot of honey! Lots more rain...
    Many people are reporting queen problems as well, maybe poorly mated? No one knows why for sure.
    This is a whole lot hotter than Africa was, I doubt that Kenyan Top Bar hives with the unreinforced comb like you run would do so well either, the comb gets looser than a goose at 100+.
    Hmmm. What does that come from, "looser than a goose"? Or don't I want to know? Lloyd

  5. Hi Lloyd,
    It's a tough bee year, for sure. The established (2-3 deeps) hives I have are doing fine, so it's not just the foundationless combs. The theory (based on beesource posts) is that the small swarm just didn't have enough bees to keep the place cool.

    As far as queen problems, I think any established hive that fails to swarm is likely to supersede. As we get better at swarm prevention, supersedure will go up. Of course, bees like to blame the queen for everything. I think supersedure is a good thing, though, as long as it's successful, you get a new queen. Dana