It’s been a while since I’ve written, but there have been two new hives in the last several weeks. The first was a wild hive that lived under a pallet covered in Travertine tiles. They were the easiest, most pleasant hive I’ve ever moved, and they had enough comb to fill almost an entire medium box. They didn’t have all that much honey, though. They’re running low on stores, and I’ve been feeding them three days a week for the last couple of weeks. I went to visit them a few days ago and, since they have historically been so nice, I took the top of the box off without smoking them. That was a mistake and I’m not going to do it again any time soon. They’re really very, very cranky right now. They’re perfectly lovely, so long as you just don’t pull the roof off their house.
Wednesday night, we went to pick up a hive made of three deep boxes on a steep hillside with loose dirt. Of course, you have to do this at dusk, so it was extra exciting. I would have had to resort to some ridiculous measures to do it safely, so my better half along with the former owner of this behemoth manfully struggled it down from its precarious perch to the safe, solid, level ground. It almost went very badly at one point, but they saved it.
Today, I went out to take a look. I found that the bottom box was mostly empty, the bees having moved up to the second box and now using the third box for honey storage. It meant that they weren’t really adequately defending the lower story, which was starting to see signs of other visiting bugs moving in. I had never seen a bottom box stapled to the bottom board before, so that added a level of complication. Got the staples out, pulled the bottom box, and put the brood box back on. Then I had to recombine the top and former bottom boxes to keep honey. Cheerfully, it all worked out, there were twelve empty frames in total, so I could remove one of the boxes and still leave them a little room.
They’re pleasant bees, for all that I disrupted their home so profoundly. There were almost no drones, although I took out some drone cells. I didn’t find the queen, but there was brood and there were eggs. The laying pattern is a bit spotty. I’ll watch that, for now. The comb was pretty difficult. I corrected a lot of cross comb as best as possible. Some of the frames are pretty unmanageable, but they’ll likely eat through a fair amount of it this winter, so we’ll leave it alone and try to get them into mediums on top of that deep over the course of next spring and summer.
All six hives got fed today. Hive #4 had more stores going into the season than the others and it’s eating less of the sugar water.