Working and Supering Lang Hives
Dripping Springs, TX, April 2015
Male: Just coming to check on room. Yep, time for supers.
That one's still drawing foundation. I made link out of that one last week. They're okay. I put the traps in them earlier.
Wow, yeah we need supers in these. Not gonna leave my lid there for long because I'm blocking the flight path. Yep, start drawing comb in the feeder. They need supers.
So these right here, I would say this colony is least in need, and the other four are more desperate than them. I would have been checking queens, but I already did that last week. This one's about ready for some glue itself. Six.
I stockpiled some equipment here last week. That old super foundation is taking them a while to draw out that foundation and fill it with honey,
but not very long in the springtime if they're on a big honey fly.
Huh? They're in desperate need of supers. I think so, you tell me. Is the light on?
Female: Yup, they're on. Have fun!
Male: It's post prom adventure at the Weaver's. They're a big heap in the morning after the big prom party. The spit keg in the back of the truck. They were having fun. Okay, this one needs it the worst.
That's one way to assess the relative need for supers based on depopulation alone. Pop the lids for a few minutes and see which one has the most bees boiling to the top, that's usually the less populous or strongest colony. And all things mingle, and they often aren't.
In the populous colony they might kind of grasp . . . It's not always the case. Genetics determines in there too. Even more important. We're going to ignore that. All right. We've been on that colony and that colony,
but that right there was just more or less the same. This one is least likely to need room unless it's full of honey. If it's full of honey, that number of bees . . .
It's pretty heavy. Let's gauge the weight on these others, so we know how to allocate our limited equipment. That one's even heavier though. So far that one's the one. I think population's a little bigger over here,
so let's see what the weight is like. This is where our super belongs. So we'll cover the other two back up and we just don't have enough equipment to go around and we'll allocate it to those most in need. Then get back more supers from them around they way too.
These two guys had virgin queens last week, so check them and see if they're some full queens now. Wow, looks like that one's desperate for a super.
Male: Yeah, there's ice in that cooler, okay? Huh? Are you about ready now? You about ready?
Let's see about that. Any sign of a laying queen? Usually after seeing a virgin we should see eggs if she's there. Not always, and it takes longer because of the weather, and mating, but after two weeks she's definitely going to be there if she's still alive. Hidden up in a different place. Okay, so . . .
Looking pretty darn good. See how they cleaned out space there for her to lay?
It's a little tricky with this plastic foundation, but there is a presence of embryos, right?
Easier with real wax foundation although a new foundation of either kind is more developmental than older drawn kind. There's no embryos there right now, so let's take a look at the next row over.
They've even got a space cleaned out for a virgin to lay, but I'm not seeing any embryos in there yet. It is a cloudy day so it makes it more challenging. Let's look over here, this will be another sign too because I think we transferred a young brood in there just in case that queen didn't start laying.
It's hard. Yeah!
Whoa, see that I knocked her off on the bottom. Look, they got a big fat queen cell there. They don't have a virgin yet. All they got is queen cells. Had a virgin last week but she must have not been able to get up and mate successfully in her term, had high wind the other week so she may have been blow away. All I can do for them at this point is put them back together, 'cause we don't have any mating queens with it.
If we had mated queens I'd tear down the cells to introduce queen. They clearly got spaces cleaned out for a queen to lay. No laying there yet. All right, so we put it back together. Now this one's got a laying queen. Ready to take some eggs and move it over. Always line the holes back up.cells hatch, the queen gets out to mate and doesn't get back,
as happened with that colony obviously this week. I know it's not a shortage of drones though. Usually it's the drones that get destroyed. Could have been a bird, could have been a spider, could have been wind. I mean, could have flown back into another hive. Okay, that's looking a lot better. I see first in star larvae down in those cells.
Tiny little caterpillars, tiny little larvae floating in a pool of brood food. That can go here so we can transfer this comb over and that will be an insurance policy for the one that doesn't have a queen, just has cells. Unless that's the only eggs this one's got. In which case we won't do that.
This queen just got started.
Sometimes colonies with new laying queens will start cells even though they have a young queen. This is a backup plan. That's what that was that I just tore down.
Lots of larvae here though and more embryos. I think we're okay to transfer one over. See the eggs in the bottom of those cells?
The young larvae? Be sure of this bottom one . . . There's an embryo or egg right there. Whoops, got some wax on their wings. See that on the bottom of the cell?
That egg, or embryo?