Saturday, October 3, 2009

Update on Bee Removal Using Cone Method

We wanted to update you on the progress of the bee removal from a house using the cone method. Overall, it was a huge success! We did have a few set backs, involving time and multiple trips, heavy hives, and poor taping methods. We now know to recommend Gorilla Tape rather than Duck Tape (on second thought, obviously a gorilla has superior grip over a duck, however, now we know for sure). We ended up with a pretty good hive that has been able to fortify itself for the winter, so we hope it will continue to thrive.

Summary of bee removal for this house: success. A lot of trouble, but at least we ended up with a strong result and learned a lot along the way.

Genius or Desperation?

In August, we noticed we had one hive in particular that was performing well beyond expectations. As many times before, we can't leave well enough alone, we decided to do a little experiment that may prove genius or disastrous.

This hive originates from a divide of a thriving June hive that we built up from a package received in April from Clay Guthrie from Kentucky. As it is a good idea to requeen in the fall, we decided to see which hives would benefit from requeening. We got down to our last queen with no real place to put her because we couldn't find one of the old queens to replace (there were too many bees). On this particularly excellent hive, we had an extra super on top full of honey because they had been fed to maintain the strength of this hive (for later emergency feed to ensure they stay strong through the winter).

We decided to remove the queen excluder which had been keeping her out of the extra super. We wanted food, not brood up there) and we replaced it with a double-screen board. A double screen board is a board with two #8 screens on it that acts as a separation device. It keeps the top separated from the bottom, but allows the heat to transfer from the bottom hive to the top. It also provides and entrance from the top or the bottom. We put the new new queen on the top because it seemed as though there were enough bees already up there to take care of her. Also, we think that this queen is far enough away from the original queen to not be under the affect of her pheromones so that they will not kill her, thinking they already have a queen.

So the long and short of the story is that if it does not work, the top bees will kill our new queen and we are back where we started with a single great hive and down 1 queen. If it works, she will get to work and we may end up with two great hives and two great queens. Only time will tell, and then we'll know.

Our associate James is on vacation at this time, taking advantage of the paid vacation time provided to him. So for now, we are going solo. We treat our employees well to avoid dealing with those troublesome labor unions.