08 July 2011

Beekeeping would be just dandy without the bees

At the start of this year, I thought it wise [uh-oh] to swap from a brood-and-a-half to a single deep brood box. To do so, I added the deep brood on top of the existing brood boxes, the idea being that the bees would move up.

Let me give you the picture: starting from the bottom, this hive has a brood box, super-as-brood box, and a new deep brood box, then the queen excluder, and four supers above for stores. The thing is taller than I am.

Later in the season [now, in fact] I planned to take the old lower brood boxes away, and the girls would be on nice new frames in the deep brood box.

The sisterhood, of course, had other plans [beekeeping would be just dandy without the bees].

The brood was, and has been all season, across almost all the frames in all three boxes. The colony is positively heaving with bees. They show no sign of abandoning their comfy old accommo, and have simply expanded into the penthouse flat above, as well.

One of the main reasons I tried to shift the bees onto new frames by stealth was the desire to avoid the brute force of a Bailey comb change (http://www.wimbledonbeekeepers.co.uk/Bailey%20Comb%20Change.pdf) or shook swarm (http://www.northdevonbees.org/member_pages/advice_sub2.htm).

Even though this colony is a towering [literally] monument to incompetence, the good news is that the four supers are almost full and capped.