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  1. #1
    ChemE Guest

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    Okay, I'll try to give you the skinny. I started for the first time last year with 2 new hives. Using 2 deep brood chambers with medium supers (central missouri). One hive last year did great with 1 full super at the end of the season. The other hive just worked in the 2 brood chambers. This year I put on a super w/ excluder in April. I was getting ready to super up again and the good hive last year is pretty much gone. The have less bee's present that I started with the package. Upon closer inspection the bottom deep brood has really dark comb and is empty.

    My questions are

    1) What is this really dark comb, why might it be empty, what happened to the bee's? Yes they could have swarmed, but they were fine in April. I did not look and find the dark empty chamber though.

    2) Is there problems with letting a supper sit at home wrapped in plastic and extruded last week? It tastes fine, a little more fluid than the store stuff. How do you tell if its fermented?

    Thanks a ton.

    ChemE

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    >1) What is this really dark comb

    Whenever any comb has been used for brood it gets dark from the coccons left in the cells. It also gets darker over time from more cocoons and from travel stains (pollen on their legs etc)

    >why might it be empty

    It's pretty normal in the spring to find the entire bottom box empty.

    >what happened to the bee's? Yes they could have swarmed, but they were fine in April.

    Bees swarm all the time. They could have swarmed, afterswarmed and afterswarmed. Or they could have died from T-mites, V-mites, Nosema, or the poulation could have been curtailed by some kind of brood disease. Chaulkbrood, European Foulbrood (EFB), American Foulbrood (AFB), Parafoulbrood, Sacbrood etc.

    >2) Is there problems with letting a supper sit at home wrapped in plastic and extruded last week? It tastes fine, a little more fluid than the store stuff. How do you tell if its fermented?

    If it's a little thinner than the store stuff, I'd say thats not unusual. But if it's a lot it can ferment. Was it capped? I just don't harvest it unless it's mostly capped. Fermentation can happen over a long period of time. The warmer the quicker it goes. Below 52 F and it usually doesn't ferment until it warms up.

    I've never owned a refractometer and have never had it spoil, but I always wait until it's capped. The bees know what they are doing.

    The only way to know for sure is to buy a refractometer and they aren't cheap.

  3. #3
    ChemE Guest

    Post

    Thanks for your thoughts. It was not any of the FB problems. I've been using screened bottom boards in hopes of reducing any mite population. The second deep above is fine, just alot less bee's present in it. I was just really bummed out over the event.

    The honey was all capped that I extracted. It actually tastes better than the store bought stuff that I have.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    >Thanks for your thoughts. It was not any of the FB problems.

    You could reverse the boxes. Sometimes the bees will force the queen back down into the empty box and sometimes they don't and it just stays empty.

    >I've been using screened bottom boards in hopes of reducing any mite population.

    This is not enough to control the population of Varroa mites. It will HELP. It will not do enough to control them. Are you monitoring the mites? Do you do a drop count? A sugar roll? What else are you doing? There are many non-chemical alternatives for Varroa mites, but you need to use them and then you need to monitor to see if they are working. Even if you use chemical controls, you need to monitor. Many people using Apistan or Check mite have lost their bees to the Varroa mites. And a lot of them were using SBB besides.

    >The second deep above is fine, just alot less bee's present in it. I was just really bummed out over the event.

    Also, what are you doing for T-mites? Again, you need to do something. Grease patties, Menthol, FGMO fog, Small cell. Something.

    >The honey was all capped that I extracted.

    Then I wouldn't worry about it.

    >It actually tastes better than the store bought stuff that I have.

    It always does unless you overheat it. The store bought honey I've had always tastes overheated and over filtered and metallic.

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