P. Michael Henderson
September 1, 2023
My friends. Steve and Sue, had a hive that moved into a cable TV box in their front yard. Since I lost that hive in August (probably to pesticide) I was looking for another hive. Once I was sure that pesticide hive was dead I went over to their place and used the bee vacuum to pick up the hive.
I didn't take pictures during the cutout but here are a couple of pictures to show what the box looked like. In the second picture you can see where the bees had attached their comb to the top and the wires. There's an opening at the front lower corner of the box and that's where the bees were going in and out.
Cable TV boxes are (generally) not dangerous - there isn't any high voltage in a cable TV system and the ends of the wires are not exposed. But, if you go into one of these boxes, still be careful.
The hive was a bit on the small side. They had three or four combs of brood but very little honey store. I took the brood and mounted it in frames and transferred the bees to completely new hive (not the pesticide hive). I did make a mistake - I fed the bees some old honey but the smell of honey causes bees from other hives to try to rob the hive. I had reduced the entrance to a couple of inches so it gave the new bees a chance to defend their new hive. I think they did okay. I should have fed sugar syrup which doesn't smell.
I remembered to add oil to the stand so the ants wouldn't cause any problems.
Then, the next day, in the evening, I went back and picked up the bees I missed and added them to the hive.
9/24/2023 We were on a vacation trip from September 10-20th so the bees were left alone. I went into the hive yesterday and there was lots of brood - so the queen is alive and well. However, there was not much honey stored in the hive and winter is coming. Our winters are not bad and there's always some forage, but I want to give this hive a head start.
Today, I took a super off one of my well established hives and put it on this hive. The super was almost completely full so they'll have a lot of honey for the winter.
The donor hive has three supers on it and the other two supers have honey in them (not full), plus honey stored in the two brood boxes - so that hive has plenty of honey for the winter.
This gives me five hives. I expect I'll have a lot of honey next year.
Here's a picture of the hive, taken about a month after picking them up. You can see the honey super on the hive.
You may notice the wedges under the stand. This is to level the hive side-to-side and get it to tilt forward a small amount. The reason for the forward tilt is to keep water out of the hive when it rains.
10/2/2023 I was a bit worried about this hive because I didn't see a lot of bees going in and out of the hive. But today, there were a lot of bees doing their orientation flight in front of the hive.
It takes 21 days for a worker bee to emerge (from the time the egg is laid). The new bee works in the hive for about 20 days before becoming a forager, a total of 41 days. Since I picked the bees up on September 1st, the bees created after that date are probably just beginning to forage, a bit early which they do when they need foragers.
10/8/2023 I went into the hive today, just because I was going into all my hives. No real change from the last time - lots of brood but only on about three frames. Hopefully, they'll build some more comb on the frames and start more brood.