Hello again, from the Flow Hive Team! Yesterday's check was a rousing success, but we are still one check away from a honey harvest.
We found the queen and tons of brood as well as tons of bees in all three of our deep brood chamber boxes. There were also lots of bees in the Flow Hive and they were well on their way to filling it with honey! There was also plenty of pollen for the bees to feed to all that brood and the brood were all plump, white, and floating in copious amounts of royal jelly.
We decided against doing a mite check today due to the hot weather predicted over the next few days which would mean that we wouldn't be able to treat with FormicPro if the mite count was above threshold (3%). So, we're going to wait until the weather is more cooperative before our next mite check. One positive, though not at all scientific sign with regards to the mites, was that some drone comb at the bottoms of the frames got ripped open while we were inspecting and those larvae didn't have any mites on them.
One task we did preform was a reverse of the bottom deep with the middle deep brood box and placing the queen in the bottom deep. There was more room for her to lay in the bottom deep, so we wanted to place that on top of her so she could find it more easily.
The next Flow Hive Check will be a honey harvest on Saturday, July 2nd, 2022 at 10am in the A2B2 Teaching Apiary at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Hope you can bee there!
And there was much rejoicing! Today we saw the young queen that the hive made last summer. She is fat and happy and laying like gangbusters, so though there was still only about 4 frames of bees, we expect an explosion of bees at the next check. The colony had also taken down about 2 full quarts of 1:1 sugar syrup this time, so we refilled those feeders and left them with 3 full quarts.
Another interesting thing we did was to move the deep box with all the bees in it above the one with just comb so that the bees are closer to the sugar syrup. Normally in the spring you would make sure that a growing hive had plenty of space above it to expand and even take empty boxes from the bottom of the hive (left empty when the bees moved upwards during the winter), and place them above the top boxes where the bee cluster moved to (called a reverse). However, when a hive has very few bees in it to keep the brood warm, you don't want those bees to have to travel through an entire empty box to get to their sugar syrup on top of the top frames. When the colony is a little more robust, we'll see if we have to move that box of empty comb back to the top to give them more space or if the queen found her way down into that empty box all on her own.
No Varroa mite check today because there just weren't enough bees.
The next official Flow Hive Team check will be on Saturday, May 21st at 10am in the A2B2 Teaching Apiary at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Hope you can bee there!
Plan for Next Check:
1. Make sure hive is still queenright.
2. Check for signs of crowding/swarming cues.
3. Check for signs of disease.
4. If enough bees, perform a Varroa mite check.
5. Refill syrup if still taking it, if not, remove feeders and add queen excluder and Flow Hive Honey Super.
What is a Flow Hive?
A Flow Hive is a Langstroth-style hive system with plastic frames which allow honey to be harvested directly from the hive. www.honeyflow.com/pages/how-flow-works