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Monday, April 23, 2012

Supering my Lang on a Beautiful Day

Supered up two boxes Friday afternoon.  It was a nice warm sunny day.  I was having an OCD thing with the misaligned boxes and decided to fix it.  I took two supers full of empty frames out in a long plastic box with all my tools.  I brought gloves but decided not to wear them.  Top super came off with little or no difficulty simply prying a little here and there with the hive tool.  The next super down was the one that wasn't sitting plumb on the deep.  I pried the super from the box but couldn't lift it or move it around.  Closer inspection revealed that the frames from the lower box were propolized and waxed to frames in the upper box.

I took all the empty frames out of my spare boxes and carefully removed each frame from the stuck box and put it into the empty box.  I moved slowly and said calming things to the bees.  I occasionally gave them a small puff of smoke.  They were surprisingly tolerant of all this manipulation.  Outer frames were full of honey and inner frames were brood comb.  Unfortunately the very middle one had brood come bridging two frames and stuck to lower frames.  It was essentially causing the problem.  I did the best I could to remove it without causing damage but ended up losing a 4 inch slab of brood comb.  I kept looking for the queen but did not spot her.  Once I got the chunk out of the middle everything started moving around just fine.

I decided not to disturb the lower box because the queen was likely down there and the bulk of the brood nest.  I ended up putting it all back together and staggering empty and full boxes.  It's now a deep and four shallows.  The bees did not seem to mind my intrusion.  The four inch comb that fell out of the frame I brushed all the bees into the hive from it and put it in my tote.  I wanted to put it back into the hive but was unsure how to do it.  I considered leaving it at the front of the hive but thought that might cause a robbing scenario.  Thus far the local wasps and wood borer bees have been abundant around our house but have been leaving the bee hive alone.

Happy to report that despite not wearing gloves I didn't get a single sting.  Ironically a friend from work who is interested in keeping bees was washing his car and got stung by a yellow jacket.  I told him about my working on the hive and all the bees everywhere and not getting stung once.  I am not sure he believes me.

I am glad I added supers because the bees had filled all but two frames with comb and honey in the topmost box.  Most frames were two thirds capped honey and one third uncapped.  Since this is the beginning of the nectar flow I surmised that it was mostly raw nectar in the one third that was uncapped.  Couldn't resist licking my fingers through the veil mesh and was delighted with the sweet sticky goodness in the hive.

All in all I had big time!  Happy to report the bees kept coming and going with nectar and occasionally pollen the rest of the day and seemed to recover from my intrusion with no problems.

I decided not to use the frame lift tool.  I found it better to slip my fingers in between the frames gradually pushing bees out of my way.  I worried that if I used the tool I might accidentally crush one.  I discovered that the inner cover was upside down so the bees couldn't use the top entrance.  It was propolized shut.  I removed the propolis with hive tool and put the inner cover right side up.  Haven't noticed the bees using it yet.

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