PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.
I'm just a hobbyist, so I need some help. Most of my guidance is from books and I seem to have questions not specifically answered there.
Two years ago, I had one hive and they were all gone by the following year, so I took the hive apart, also bought a new one, and got 2 nucs this spring from a local honey farm. The first hive (the old one and its frames, which looked nice and clean) took off like the bees were on crack. I inspected them 10 days after I hived them, and they had already filled up 9 frames and were working on the tenth. Frames looked busy and healthy, so I added a second deep body. Yesterday (two weeks after the first inspection) , they had drawn out 7-8 of those frames, emptied their hive feeder for a second time (about a gallon of syrup each time) so I took off the hive feeder, put on a queen excluder, and put a box of supers on top. Whew!
Second hive, after first visit, was fine, but not prospering. The frames looked healthy, with a small amount of chaulk brood the bees were busy getting rid of, but otherwise, there were eggs, and only one of the new frames was being worked on (the five from the nuc were busy). At this last inspection, they still had 3 frames relatively untouched, but seemed to be more active, so I interdipersed, the new frames in between some busier ones. They hadn't finished their syrup either time, but I put in fresh stuff.
I should mention that the syrup looked a bit moldy after first inspection, so I took both hive feeders off, washed them with soap and very diluted bleach and refilled with fresh syrup that had a few tablespoons of Honey-B-Healthy. They like this better, and no mold.
Questions: How do they sound like they doing to anyone with experience? Is one doing so much better because they were healthier in the nuc? When I inspect them in two weeks, (and everytime thereafter) do I remove and scrape every frame in every hive body, upper and lower deep? Do I do this throughout the summer? Or do I just need to do the top deep? I don't want to disturb them more than necessary, so if I just have to check if I need to add another super, (on the crack beehive) then let me know. I understand about keeping close tabs on the struggling hive.
It's better not to intersperse the empty,undrawn frames with the "busy" ones.This just makes it harder for the bees to cover and keep the brood warm.They will move to the empties as they need them.I would not change them back now but keep this in mind for the future.
Best thing you can do for the bees is ...stay out of the hives.I realize this is hard for a new beekeeper but every time you go in there you disrupt the bees and risk killing or damaging your queen.You can tell a lot by watching the landing board.If you have more than 50 bees a minute returning to the hive, it is ok.The more bees returning the stronger the hive.If some of those returning bees are bringing in pollen,the queen is laying.I go into my hives no more than 4 or 5 times a year.
Just realized that I did not answer the question about scraping the frames.Don't bother.The bees fix things to suit themselves.I do scrape the honey supers when I extract but never the brood frames.Stay out of that brood nest.