Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hive Cooling Strategies

Seattle is currently in the middle of a rather massive heat wave.
In an effort to keep the hives cool, Karin placed wet towels over the hives.Here is our Mud Honey Hive (above) and our humble little swarm hive (below).
One note about the swarm hive: When we first captured this swarm, we only had one deep deep and one shallow super. We were concerned that they would soon swarm again if only given the deep hive, due to the sheer mass of bees that left our original Blue Moon Hive. So we put on the additional shallow and then later purchased the second deep hive (note the unpainted wood of the new deep box). The deeps were filled with plastic frames; the shallow boxes contained pure wax frames.
Clearly our bees are wax snobs. The workers pulled out the wax comb, all the while turning up their noses at the platicicell foundations. Naturally, our queen laid her eggs in the cells that were fully drawn out; those of the wax foundations. This wouldn't be a problem except that the drawn foundations belong to the shallow supers, the place were honey, not brood, is supposed to be deposited. Our check today revealed that the bees have begun to slowly draw out the plasticell foundations of the deeps but continue to use the wax foundations as well nesting. Bad bees!
So we're conducting a bit of an experiment. We placed a queen excluder between the two honey supers, prohibiting the queen from using the new wax foundations for nefarious breeding purposes. On second though, we probably should have placed the excluded one box down, but didn't have the time to comb through the bottom super, looking for our queen and booting her down to the lower deeps. We'll keep you updated.