Swarm #18: A very nice 7 frame swarm in my home yard but not from my hives hived in an 8 frame deep in location HS12. It is interesting how bee hives tend to attract swarms. I have had two this year, one in the Harkins Slough yard and one in my home yard and in both cases the swarm did not originate from the yard they were found in.
Swarm #17: Picked up a small 2 1/2 frame swarm in Salinas and hived in a deep 5 frame nuc in position T7.
Swarm #18: a very small 1 frame hive with a laying queen was found in the Ramadero, Aromas bait hive. It was feed a pint of syrup and left in place for now. I will move it to the trailer in a few days.
I added Queen cells to the three mating nucs set up on the trailer, two mating nuc at Harkins Slough queen yard and in the incubator hive at Harkins Slough.
Two of the hives I re-queeened with VSH queens from my last queen batch were rejected. In both cases it was because there were virgin queens in the hives that I was unaware of.
Swarm #15: Small 2 1/2 Frame Swarm in a Pleasant Hill Bait hive.
Swarm #16: A three Frame Swarm picked up in Watsonville hived in position T9 in a deep 5 frame nuc.
I moved two occupied bait hives from Pleasant Hill and one occupied bait hive from Concord setting them up in five frame nucs on my trailer. I de-queen them in preparations for queen cells to be added tomorrow.
Swarm #14; A very small swarm, 1 medium frame of bees was in my Harkins Slough yard when I arrived today. I don’t know where it is from but it did have a queen with it so I put it in a queen mating nuc in HS23 Location.
The Queen cell building in HS27 did not go so well. As you remember it is a hive that I have been fighting to keep from swarming by cutting queen cells weekly. Out of 40 grafts I have 6 sealed queen cells so I will not try that again. Clearly the cloak board queen rearing colony is much better for raising queen cells. I pulled 4 medium frames, two with sealed brood to make an incubator to hold the cells until the mating nucs are made up. I was afraid that the hive would swarm if I left them in the queen right hive.
I received 7 Pure Russian Queens from Tubbs Apiaries yesterday and put them into hives today. I removed the attendant bees from four and left the attendant bees in three. In all cased I left the JzBz cages capped and will watch them closely for acceptance before I either manually release them or I remove the cap to allow the bees to slowly release them.
Two of the VSH Queens that I raised and introduced into hives were rejected. one because I missed an emergency queen cell that they had raised and the other for unknown reasons. As you may recall I introduced 6 of my VSH queens reciently. Three in cages and three with the newspaper method of combining the mating nuc with the queen-less hive. All three of the hives accepted the queens from the nucs but only one of the caged queens was accepted. That is not good news if I want to continuously raise queens in the same nucs. I need to improve my methods of caged queen introduction. I don’t mind restocking mating nucs when hives are on the verge of swarming but I don’t want to do that latter in the season.
Swarm #13: I hived a very nice 5 Frame or larger swarm on Auto Center Drive Watsonville. I placed it at location LR14 and feed it 1/2 gallon sugar syrup. The honey flow on Lewis road is over and the bees need to be feed to keep them from starving. It is going to be a very long Summer for the Bees.
I grafted 40 queen cups from HS17 and placed them in HS27. HS27 has been building queen cells in preparation for swarming, which I had cut out on May 8th, so I did no special preparation on hive HS17 as a cell builder. We will see how this works, it may simplify the preparation of a cell building when raising only a few queens.
Hive HS18 has accepted the new VSH queen and nuc.
Hive HS16 has accepted the VSH Queen in a queen cage so I did a direct release of her in to the hive.
Hives HS1 and HS5 have accepted the VSH queens in cages so I removed the caps over the candy tube and will allow them to be release by the bees. I decided not to do direct release of them since they had only been in the hive for two days.
Swarm #12: A decent 4 frame swarm from Watsonville, hived in an 8 frame deep body and placed in position HS12.
I re-queened two hives with VSH queens that I raised, placing them in a capped JzBz queen cages with a cap over the candy filled candy tube. I made the candy using powder sugar and just enough corn syrup to make the sugar like dough. One of the hives was already queen-less and the other I killed the queen yesterday. I had also introduced a queen in a cage the same as I did today into another hive that had been queen-less for 24 hours yesterday. I now have a total of three introductions in progress using cages and four using the newspaper method of combining the mating nuc with the queen-less hive. The will test the difference in introduction methods between the use of cages and nuc introduction. I will check the cages in two to three days to see if the bees have accepted the queens and then decide to either direct release them of remove the cap from the candy tube.
I combined the three queen-less mating nucs with three other mating nucs using the newspaper method thereby doubling the strength of the mating nucs which now have enough strength to be viable splits on their own.
I requeened 4 Hives with VSH queens that I marked on the 5th. I removed the queens from the four hives yesterday so that they would be queenless for 24 hours. I decided to try to combine the hives and the nucs containing the new queens using the newspaper method as apposed to using queen cages for queen intriduction. I have since noticed a lot of dead bees in front of one of the hives indicating a lot of fighting and I am now afraid that they may have killed the queen as well. I plan to check in no less than 4 days.