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Author Topic: What are these bees doing?  (Read 5070 times)
Pete
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« on: January 30, 2010, 02:31:10 AM »

Noticed today (37o in Melb today) that we have LOTS o bees on the front of the hive.

The hive is in the afternoon shade, but i suspect they are just trying to keep cool? Can anyone confirm?



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Little John_NC
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2010, 07:12:07 AM »

Hey Pete
As you said they are trying to stay cool. Fine box of bees you got there. May need more room mate.
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2010, 05:51:40 PM »

Hmm, I had the same issue before putting an extension on the top of both of my hives. Looks like you've got a mighty fine colony.
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Pete
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 06:51:22 PM »

Ta for that Smiley The top ideal super is coming off next weekend and being replaced with 10 frames full sized.

I will split them in spring time...september?

Are they in a different mood when they are doing this? less or more likely to get aggressive...or just the same as normal?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 11:09:05 PM by Pete » Logged
Pete
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 12:24:55 AM »

Not sure you can see from my camera phone pics, but, today there is even more...i think its a similar temp here (38ish), but a storm is coming so i guess they will go inside...

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SlickMick
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 05:41:26 AM »

I have 3 hives that are side by side and the fronts are just one big wall of bees, covering the sides between the hives and hanging off the stand. I robbed them the other day so they have shallow supers to go into but they seem reluctant to move inside. I am sure that it is the temperatures that have them outside. Robbing them was no more of a problem than at any other time.. a few stings but nothing out of the ordinary.

I am going to split them next week as there is quite a flow going on at the moment and they should have plenty of time before the cooler months to build up their numbers again. Also there is quite an autumn flow here that extends into winter. Meadlover will be the beneficiary of the splits.

Mick

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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2010, 12:03:26 AM »

I am going to split them next week as there is quite a flow going on at the moment and they should have plenty of time before the cooler months to build up their numbers again. Also there is quite an autumn flow here that extends into winter. Meadlover will be the beneficiary of the splits.

Mick

and a very appreciative beneficiary too  grin
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kedgel
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 08:22:15 PM »

G'day.  Yup, they're "bearding" looks like.  They may be keeping cool  afro, or given the size of your hive, they may be over-crowded and preparing to swarm.  If you see any supersedure queen cells hanging off the frames, I'd expand immediately. I would expand to 10 frame hives with screened bottom board SHB trap bottom with a screened inner cover for better ventilation.  I would also raise them up off the ground, just like your house, mate.

Kelly
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Pete
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2010, 11:10:07 PM »

Thanks. Hope its not over crowding, they only did it last weekend when it was hot. The colony is less than 12 months old from when it was originally split. I will be changing the ideal super to full sized with new frames this weekend.

The hive is on bricks then a sheet of plywood...is this high enough?
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mick
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2010, 02:28:54 AM »

Yes its over 94 degrees in the hive, mine do that. See that black irrigation line? Sit it on top of the board and let it drip down one side of the hive, the bees will move into the stream of water! Ir replace the bricks with 4x2, bricks are good in winter but not so good in summer.
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Pete
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2010, 04:23:50 AM »

Thanks for the tips. I cant do much with that irrigation, its got a bit of pressure. It takes water 60/70m and then connects to a 100m dripper.

I will remove the bricks and put wood.

Can you still get in there and wrangle the bees, remove the honey super etc when theya re doing that? I am bit nervous about walking up and giving them a puff of smoke Smiley
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mick
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2010, 04:52:51 AM »

When its that hot, I reckon its best to leave em alone. They are working like buggery to stabilize the temp of the hive. Commercial keepers go in gangbusters, we dont really need to. If youve driven 100k to work hives, the rules are different.

Ive been known to lightly shower those bearding bees with the hose. A lot of them run inside the hive to take the water in. They then move back outside the hive to where they were.

When they beard like that, its a good time to sit and watch. They too hot to bother with you on ya stool with a stubbie.
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Pete
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2010, 05:38:46 AM »

Sounds like good advice, i will follow it.

If i knew the hive was full and i had to go in, would it be totally un advisable...or just very disturbing for them as you described?

Should i leave them for days afterwards? eg if they ahev stopped doing it then the next day or the day after is fine to go in?
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kedgel
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2010, 06:26:16 PM »

I wouldn't sweat working the hive if you need to.  They generally aren't any more aggressive while bearding than at any other time.  If they are too thick around the lid, or wherever you need to work, a puff of smoke will make them retreat.  If you over do it, they'll take flight and buzz you.  I would think that opening the hive would give them a welcome dose of outside air.  In the absence of a screened inner cover putting the lid slightly askew will help with ventilation, but it opens the door for shbs to enter the hive, so I'd put it down before evening.  SHB's are most active just before dark.  I was checking my hives one evening just before dark and was amazed at the number of shbs flying down and landing on my hives looking for a place to get in. 

Kelly
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2010, 06:51:57 PM »

Noticed today (37o in Melb today) that we have LOTS o bees on the front of the hive.

The hive is in the afternoon shade, but i suspect they are just trying to keep cool? Can anyone confirm?






Are they thinking of decamping?
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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2010, 12:56:26 AM »

Thanks. Hope its not over crowding, they only did it last weekend when it was hot. The colony is less than 12 months old from when it was originally split. I will be changing the ideal super to full sized with new frames this weekend.

The hive is on bricks then a sheet of plywood...is this high enough?
Sorry, Pete.  The pic made it look like it was sitting on the ground.  Sounds fine.  You just want to get them off the ground for some air circulation.  Until recently I set mine on cinder blocks, too.
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Col Collyer
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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2010, 08:35:43 PM »

Hi Pete
  We had a swarm come to us, last November, and it's now 7 ideals high and going gang busters,just last week took about 40lbs of comb from them.   If I were you I'd add another super
 Col in Brandon Park
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Pete
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« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2010, 08:55:29 PM »

Thanks for that tip. I will switching the ideal off to a full sized this weekend. Waiting for good weather - all over cast at weekend.

This week is 32? but i dont get home until 4.30 - i was told to only go in mid morning, 10-11 ? Is this wrong, just go in at 4.30pm ok?

Anyone point me to some tips on what times/weather to go in the hive? For example, is it ok to go in when the heat is up, or later in the day?
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kedgel
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« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2010, 11:16:42 PM »

In my experience, the only caveat on time of day to open hives is when it is cold.  I avoid opening my hives if it is cold, as they work hard to keep the heat in.  Chilling the hive is bad news, but opening it up when it is hot isn't going to cause problems.  I usually work my hives in the evening when it is cooler.  The only potential problem there is that is when the shb are most active in seeking out a new home.  Opening the hive, especially when there is honey in the hive that can be broken open, is ringing the dinner bell.  They can smell it a mile (KM) away and come a-runnin'.  If your hives are in a sunny location and you have sbb's they won't be able to cause too many problems. 

Kelly
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Lone
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2010, 06:59:33 AM »

Hello,

I love your very helpful conversion from miles to kilometers on the metric part of the forum, Kedgel!

I was wondering if anyone has noticed bees aclimatise to hot weather?  Obviously we have a lot of 38+ (100F+, Kedgel) days here and warmer weather all year round.  My hives are too weak to be bearding in any case, but I didn't notice nearly so many bees on the outside of my friend's stronger hives in that sort of temperature.

For those who have never suffered Melbourne weather, they say there are four seasons in one day, and in my experience most of those seasons are winter.

Lone
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philinacoma
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« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2010, 07:41:39 AM »

Hmm, winter maybe, but not enough of them include rain.  Cry
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Sparky
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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2010, 09:16:20 AM »

Has anyone in your area ever experimented with the tubing with mister nozzles to provide some cooling spray in the harsh, heat.
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SlickMick
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« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2010, 03:25:25 PM »

Hi Pete
  We had a swarm come to us, last November, and it's now 7 ideals high and going gang busters,just last week took about 40lbs of comb from them.   If I were you I'd add another super
 Col in Brandon Park

G'day Phil in Brandon Park. Good to have another Aussie on board even if he is a Mexican  grin

Slicko
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
SlickMick
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« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2010, 03:27:37 PM »

Meadlover and I are splitting those 3 bearding hives this arvo. Wall to wall bees 3 hives wide. Should be fun grin

Slicko
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
kedgel
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« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2010, 08:09:39 PM »

I've never been to Melbourne.  I spent 2 years in Q'land where it is HOT.  I live in SW Florida where the weather is just like Queensland.  My first mob of bees were ordered from KY.  They adjusted to the heat just fine.  Actually, I think they handle the heat better than cold.  I' ve never had a heat-wave kill a bunch of bees, but an extended cold snap is currently killing off my bees.  I see about a dozen or so dead around each hive every morning that it is cold.  I never saw that during the summer when it was bloody hot.  They bees line up across the entrance and fan their wings to create a draft through the hive when it is hot.  I opened one hive once while they were fanning.  I was surprised that I could feel the cooling breeze at the top of the frames.  I don't know that they have a similar ability to produce heat.  I know that there are some bees that use friction to produce heat sufficient to kill a particular marauding hornet that inhabits their area.  Japan, I think.  Any way, they swarm all over the intruder and cook it to death!  I've never heard of whether honey bees can heat their hive, though.
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Lone
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« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2010, 05:16:34 AM »

Kedgel,

I think I recall you were in SOUTH Queensland.  That is like the arctic compared with NORTH Queensland.  I would turn into a snowman if I had to go down there.  brrr.

Lone
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Pete
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« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2010, 08:24:34 AM »

Yeah thats the combined heat and humidity, i find that hard to breath in, i cant imagine doing labourous work during it at all...but we get the dry searing heat in Melb. 48 at our place last year...46 a week or so later 40kmh winds...
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philinacoma
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« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2010, 08:34:51 AM »

48, now that was a summer! Smiley
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kedgel
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« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2010, 10:37:05 PM »

Kedgel,

I think I recall you were in SOUTH Queensland.  That is like the arctic compared with NORTH Queensland.  I would turn into a snowman if I had to go down there.  brrr.

Lone
You're right.  I was around Brisbane, mostly.  It did get colder there than it does here in SW FL.  Our weather here is mostly like you get up around Bundy.  It rarely gets to freezing here.  We sometimes have to shut the windows at night!   cool

Kelly
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Lone
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2010, 05:07:12 AM »

Right, Kedgel, we are further north than Bundy - that's like the Swiss Alps in Winter compared with here.   Wink

Lone
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Pete
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« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2010, 08:08:25 PM »

Ok, so we opened it up again today, lots and lots of capped honey.

Pulled out some of the full sized frames from the middle super below the excluder and 3rd frame we found the queen. Looks like brood, capped pollen then capped honey?

Also there is some weird comb near where the queen was...is this swarm cells, new queen cells? I had no where to put the frame with the queen on it, smoker went out, so i put it al back together.

Its such a mess in the middle super, lots of comb against the walls and lots of damage as you pull stuff out, not sure how much i should clean this or let them go for it.

One bee was attacking my face, i flicked my face mask and the bee landed on the dog and stung it - pretty darned funny actually Smiley

Big issue now is that the box i made to go on top is for 10 frames and mine are 8 (which everyone told me to get, but i thought i had 10 Sad ) So now there is only 2 super for the whole hive until i get a new box tomorrow. Will they be ok for for 2 days like this?

INterested to hear what you think of the following pics.

1. mmmm capped honey


2. Cells?


3. Cells? (middle/brood super.)


4. Cells? (middle/brood super.)


5. Black Honey? (middle/brood super.)


6. Under the lid of the honey super
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kedgel
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« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2010, 12:05:45 AM »

Yassuh,  that honey is looking good! tongue  If you work your hives more regularly, you can stay ahead of the burr comb.  I scrape off the burr comb and cut down the bridging comb so it doesn't make a mess of the capped honey when I pull out the frames.  Also the comb built on top of the frames is a sure sign they need more room.  I'd scrape that off before they start to fill it.  You are losing supers of honey by not giving them another super to build in.  If you are short on supers, I'd rob them and replace it with empty frames.  This may discourage them from building on top of the frames until you can give them another super.  I couldn't really tell from the pic, but it looks like supercedure cells on that frame.  There were also lots of drone cells too.  Swarm cells typically hang off the bottom of the frames, but not always.  Drone cells are bigger than worker cells but aren't as big as queen cells.  They also are in rows while queen cells are individually placed around the frames.  As for the question about brood/pollen, etc.  In the absence of a queen excluder, the bees usually ring the brood with honey and bee bread (pollen).  They don't cap pollen. 

Kelly
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Lone
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« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2010, 01:09:59 AM »

Drone comb, Pete, usually the sign of a healthy hive (what I don't have a lot of)

Lone
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Pete
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« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2010, 05:41:12 PM »

Thanks for the info.

Any idea what the black/dark honey is? Just the different type of honey depending the necter they were harvesting at the time?

We got 8 ideal frames extracted yesterday. First ever home operation...blew out 3 frames in the extractor going too fast on th first side - good lesson to learn Smiley

In the end we got 6-7kg or so of honey. Of the 16 sides (8 frames) only 13 were 100% capped...but because it was so full in the hive we decided to extract them anyway.

The honey is easily the nicest, sweetest honey i have ever tasted (of your own produce always is). Smiley

I noticed going back into the hive the following day to put the frame back i had extracted that the bees were a LOT more aggressive. Half a dozen trying to sting me through the face mask. Is this normal, will they return to being docile and friendly? We really did disrupt them and accidentally killed quite a few Sad

I made my own extractor, see thread here http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,26611.0.html
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 08:14:46 AM by Pete » Logged
col c
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« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2010, 05:04:40 AM »

'Eavning All
 Since watching this thread, I've been taking a little more notice of the"Outsiders", and I notice they are out most day's, more so on the hotter days.  But today was only about 24 I think, and quite windy, and sure enough, there were plenty of outsiders.
 So, I wandered around the back of the hive, and had a good view of the ones on the side of the hive, and I found that they were doing a little dance, rocking backwards and forwards, almost like their feet were stuck, but then they would walk a few steps and start again.
 This was about 6pm.... 2hrs before sun set

 I'm guessing they are new chums, out exploring for the first time....... but i'm only guessing. Any idea's
 Col
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annette
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« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2010, 06:24:53 PM »

It doesn't look like you have any ventilation on the top. Is that true. Can you pop the top open a bit and let some of that heat out??
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #36 on: March 09, 2010, 04:33:53 PM »

Hey Peter,

I noticed this image in your hive photos aren't they queen cells on the side of the frame?
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« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2010, 05:42:16 PM »

the angle is bad, but i see a couple that could be queen cells.  they look pretty crowed if that's all the laying room there is.  how much of your season is left?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2010, 09:33:06 AM »

Hi,

I'm trying to learn the difference between worker-drone and queen cells.  I'm a little confused by the answers here.  In the image of the bubbly cells (3) are those drone cells with some that may be queen cells? Or are they all supercedure cells (I read supercedure cells to mean pre-queen cells.)

Thanks for posting such great pictures Pete!  Your honey looks beautiful!  How did the split go?

Thanks for any help!

love,
ziffa
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kathyp
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« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2010, 10:16:33 AM »

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,23183.0.html

quick search found this.  if you do a search, i'm sure you can find more pics of queen cells and drone comb. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #40 on: March 10, 2010, 01:23:43 PM »

Pete,
Black honey?  Was it black when you took it out?  From the picture it just looks like ordinary honey in dark brood comb.  If it was truly dark, then yes, different flowers, buckwheat in the States is the darkest, all depends on your flora.

Did you use foundationless frames?  The bees will draw out a bit of drone comb, the ugly bumpy stuff, on most of the combs.  There may have been some queen cups on some of the pictures, but I didn't see anything that looked like they were actually in process of making a queen.  I find that they often keep a few cups scattered around just in case, or don't fully destroy old ones.

Looks healthy to me, assuming that there was more worker comb in there elsewhere.

Rick
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Pete
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« Reply #41 on: March 10, 2010, 06:05:21 PM »

Sorry haven't replied for a while.

Yes there is ventilation, not sure if its enough. there is 4 x 1 inch holes in the lid.

Since i removed the 8 frames of honey they havent 'bearded' like that since.

I didnt make the frames that were in there, but i think they had foundation. the honey wasnt dark when it came out, just a few bit of comb were darker, once i got it in the shed and checked it out it was all pretty normal looking, i think Smiley

Its just turned Autumn here and the weather has changed from hot/dry to wet/warm. Big trees are about to flower and bee activity seams just as intense as it had been all summer.

I will open it and have a look how they are going with the new frames. 5 or 6 still had drawn comb and 2 or 3 had new foundation.
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Col Collyer
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Location: Melbourne Australia


« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2010, 06:20:36 PM »

Interesting morning
 I get up at 6 and have breakfast on the decking. I had 10  / 20 ladies join me, heading for the lights on inside.
 It was a hot night, and when it was light enough, I checked the hive, and sure enough, a cluster hanging around the entrance, and others , almost running, in a line to the top
 Haven't seen that before
 Col
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