Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lose Some, Win Some

One of the hives I got last year from the almond orchards near Bakersfield (at exactly this time of year) is a "deadout." Very weird, because they were pretty robust until recently. At first I thought they might have swarmed, because I found a queen in the depleted hive two weeks ago... but now I think it was your basic CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder. No dead bees to speak of--- just an empty hive, no brood, no honey (I suspect the honey stores probably were robbed by others in the beeyard), a smattering of pollen. A mystery.

And that split I did last week? (See below) Not looking good. A lot of the bees "drifted" back to their original hive, I think. Not many in the nuc when I checked yesterday, and no queen cells started. The frames I selected from the "host" hive must not have contained any eggs, or larva young enough to make into a queen. So, this split is probably short-lived...

On the other hand, I threw some old, black comb (comb eventually turns very, very dark after a few years of use) into a nuc, added a couple drops of lemongrass oil, and put the nuc up in a treehouse about 15 feet high or so. That's called a "swarm trap," and voila! One week later, I've got new residents! I'll move them out of the treehouse and into the beeyard next weekend.

I took the opportunity to set another swarm trap, just in case the locals are restless. I'll shoot a picture of them tomorrow AM and put it in this post.

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