_Festooning occurs when the bees hang together, each holding onto each other's legs thus forming a chain, on the outside of the hive to cool off. With the super hot weather we've been having lately, the bees are no exception in wanting to stay cool. I caught a bit of festooning one night around 9:00 p.m. It was fun to watch, as they were moving very slow and continuous.
On Saturday my mentor and friend Richard Flanagan came over to help me inspect and possibly add on to the hive. Last week Hernan and I saw a lot of capped brood. Throughout the week I noticed lots of little young bees around the entrance doing orientation flights. I was excited to see how they'd done in a week. It was great to have Richard over
_I was super excited to see this. The end frames were still empty, BUT in the upper right corner you can see that they've begun to draw out comb! It's in a little circular shape. And there were bees all over all of the frames, another good sign. There was only one end frame still waiting to be touched.
_Here's another one of my Duracomb frames. HOORAY, success! One side fully drawn out with comb. We saw two frames that were empty on both sides last week each had one side fully drawn out this week. You can see capped honey on this one.
_And another one of my frames with one side fully drawn, capped honey and eggs in the open cells in the middle. It was great to have my mentor who'd helped me build these frames, pull some out and see them being worked and filled by my first colony. What a great way to start a Saturday in June! There were more bees visible than last week, so a decent amount of hatching has taken place.
_The queen was spotted on one of the older frames. She was very fast. I followed Hernan's advice and put that frame back in, and lifted out another. This one was super heavy with capped brood, bees and honey. Over all Richard and I saw very little pollen being stored. Hopefully they'll pick up steam in that regard and start to bring in their food from the neighborhood. I've seen pollen coming into the hive, but there is very little stored ... so far. Something to monitor in the following weeks
Another one of my frames, fully drawn out on one side and eggs laid in the open cells. That's right, the queen has been busy laying eggs in the freshly drawn comb. I saw a single egg in each of these open cells, in the morning sun.
Richard said it was time to add the second brood box. Since I'm using a nine-frame configuration on the bottom I have to maintain nine frames for the top box to keep air flow and travel easy between the boxes. He showed me which frame to pull from the bottom; one filled with lots of capped brood and capped honey and a good amount of bees. We put that in the middle of the top box. On the bottom box we staggered the end frames with an adjacent frame to encourage them to draw that comb out as well. We put the empty frame we removed from the top box and put it in the middle of the bottom box. All frames got a spraying of thin syrup to encourage the girls to take to these frames. Previously, they left my Duracomb frames alone until I sprayed them with syrup. Whether that's coincidence or empirical evidence I don't know. But why mess with success? So all empty Duracomb frames get a misting of syrup, is my rule of thumb. Here, Richard holds up the last one for me to spray as we wrap up.
Richard uses my nine-frame spacer to get the ends of the top bars in correct position.
And now my hive has grown by another deep's worth. We saw one small hive beetle (SHB). Only one was spotted last week. So only two SHB's in two weeks is a sign of a very healthy hive. We also saw only a single wax moth this week. Fortunately it wasn't in the hive but between the top cover and inner screen cover. Another good sign. Richard and I poured another gallon of syrup into the top feeder, and let them get back to work.
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Tom Davidson is the owner and beekeeper at T's Bees.
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