SoCal Beekeeping

Routine Checkup
P. Michael Henderson

I opened all three hives today to check on them.  I now have names for the hives.  One is "Loma" which is the street where the woman who called me about the bees lives.  So that hive came from Loma Street.  The second is Rio Bravo which is where the cable TV box was that the bees were living in before I captured them. The third I call my "old hive" because it's been there since 2012.

I have three supers on the old hive and there's a fair amount of honey in those three supers.  They're not full but fairly heavy to lift.  The capped honey is in the center of the hive.  I should have taken some of the frames from the sides and put them in the middle, spreading the frames with the capped honey to the sides.  Next time I go in.  I was just checking on how much honey they had in the hive.

Some time ago, I replaced the two brood boxes in the old hive.  I took the frames from the old boxes and put them into the new boxes.  I put two plastic foundation frames in the center of each brood box so it will take the bees a while to draw out the comb.  I didn't go into the brood boxes to check on how they're doing with that plastic foundation.  Next time.

The bees in the old hive are reasonably mellow.  They fly around when I'm in the hive but don't really come at me to any great degree.

The Rio Bravo hive is doing well but has not started using the super yet.  The top brood box is fairly full so I expect they'll fill it soon and start moving up to the super for honey storage.

A couple of days ago, I went into the Rio Bravo hive and put two plastic frames in the center of the bottom brood box (frames 5 & 6).  I had put two frames with plastic foundation in the center of the upper brood box some time ago and the bees are drawing it out fine.  One of the outside frames (frame 1) in the bottom brood box was essentially unused and I took the other (frame 10) and put it in the upper brood box.  The bees will have to draw out that plastic foundation.  The bees were pretty defensive from me going into that bottom brood box and were all over me.  They also followed me when I finished and it took me a while to get them to go away.  Typical Africanized bee behavior.

The Loma hive is going great guns.  They've started making comb in the super, although I don't think they've put much honey into that area yet.  The frames in the two brood boxes are full.  I checked the two outside frames in the top brood box and they were full of honey - so I guess the bees have to go to the super to store honey.  I was going to take the two outside frames (frames 1 & 10) and put frames with plastic foundation into positions 5 & 6 in both the upper and lower brood boxes but after seeing how full everything is, I decided to just let them go.  The frames in the lower brood box were used for the brood comb I took from the cutout and I expect it's not very straight on the frames.  Eventually, I'll have to go into that bottom brood box and take the outside frames and put frames of plastic foundation in the middle as a beginning of getting that brood box straight.

The Loma hive appears to be fairly mellow, although I didn't go into the bottom brood box.  That might have stirred them up a bit more.

It looks like my old hive and the Loma hive are pretty mellow.  The Rio Bravo hive is pretty defensive and follows me after I finish working with them.  I'll have to think about how I can get them to re-queen to see if I can get a more docile bunch of bees.  Maybe limit their space to get them to swarm.  I'd like to make a new queen in the Loma hive and get her to take in the Rio Bravo hive but, right now, that's beyond my knowledge and capabilities.