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Thursday, April 9, 2009

First Sting and Reversing Spring Hives

Today was one of the warmer days forecasted for the week so I headed out to the hives. First and foremost, my goals were simple, to reverse each of the brood boxes in order to assist in preventing swarming and to super my hives in hopes of catching some of the spring nectar flow. Because bees move up high in the hive during the winter the bees think they are running out of room so they swarm. Reversing the brood boxes gives the bees plenty of room upstairs. The spring nectar flow is on, so I may be able to catch some of the nice, light spring honey.

When I arrived at the hives I saw plenty of activity outside of each one. Here's how each one looked:

Genesis Observations: A hive full of bees. Bees everywhere! Lots of capped brood, burr comb, and drone comb. The top and bottom brood box had ample stores of honey, nice dark, capped with almost a blackish color wax. I was challenged by multiple bees and the smoker kept them at bay for the most part. However, several bees made it up my pant leg and one managed to sting me. The effect was lessoned by my thick white sock, where later I found the stinger. It felt like a needle prick. No redness or swelling, but I doubt that I got anywhere near the full effect.

This hive looks strong. Plenty of bees, honey, and activity that gives me confidence in the health of this hive. I removed the screened bottom board tray and saw lots of pollen, debris, and yes, mites. I'll have to do a spring count soon. No swarm cells.

Exodus Observations: This hive has always been the weaker? of the two. I'm glad I can compare them. These bees are generally smaller in size, a little more lethargic, but willing to challenge me quicker then Genesis. There were plenty of bees, some capped brood, and I managed to spot Mrs. Exodus herself making her rounds. She was in the bottom brood box in the middle frame. Surprisingly, the frames were not as full of honey like Genesis, but the bees were packing in pollen and some nectar. I'd say that this hive was 1/2 of the weight, population, and capped brood of Genesis. Similarly, the screened bottom board tray was full of debris and dead mites, at least 6 months worth of gunk.

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