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Bearding bees

Bearding honeybees

I'd been putting off adding a third box to our daughter hive, hoping that the mother hive would be done moving into the Langstroth boxes so I could begin converting the daughter hive with the same hardware. But when I dropped by the daughter hive Thursday morning to refill their feeder, the photo above shows what I saw. Unless the weather is very hot, bearding is a sign that the bees in your hive need more room. Time to get my act together and add another box!

Looking into a Warre box

Inspecting a Langstroth hiveAfter waiting until the sun was blazing and the foragers were out in the field, Mark and I stopped by the mother hive first. The one Warre box in this hive was very heavy, full of capped honey, and at first I thought I'd be able to call the conversion a success.

But when I delved into the Langstroth box underneath, I found only honey and pollen, no brood. And when I peered more carefully up under that single Warre box, I saw some capped brood, signaling that the queen is still working up in the attic. So I put the hive back together as-is and headed over to the Warre hive with plan B in mind.

Bee smoker

Although we could have made another Langstroth-to-Warre converter, I opted to instead go the simple route and just nadir another Warre box under the daughter hive. The bees will have space to keep expanding, and we'll wait until next year to convert them over to a Langstroth hive.

On a different note, I was heartened by how hard both colonies of bees are working this year. The daughter hive is on the dole (sugar water), which seems to have helped them bulk up well (although they still have a lot fewer foragers than the mother hive). And the mother hive is doing well also, although they appear to have eaten some of their honey since I last checked. If nothing else, I hope both hives will be ready to go into winter without any (or much) additional fall feeding.



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Comment by hilary Fri Jul 17 14:30:35 2015

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