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Discussion Starter #1
May 24th packages installed May 5th

Italian Hive:
My dad checked this one alone so not many pics. He got a picture of the queen though. They have built combs on 12 bars (mostly some sort of partial combs, many nearly complete but some halves). Lots of capped brood and stores look good.



Carniolan Hive:
Checked with this my dad this morning. I tried to tell him this hive was stronger than the Italian one when we last looked, but he didn't believe me. When we got done today he said "you were right". These three pictures are of the same top bar, there were six that looks nearly identical to this one. Built on a total of 10, 7-8 of them are fully built and a few partials. Probably roughly the same amount of comb as the other hive in total. EVERY cell has an egg in it. This queen is certainly out laying the comb production by a wide margin (which I'm sure they're fully capable of when they're well mated).







Six bars wall-to-wall of capped brood and a mix of eggs/larva/capped on the other ones. A few drone cells in each hive, but no big patches yet. The Carniolan's had started to cap some stores on top of the frames, so that's good. Dad didn't notice if the Italian hive had or not. Neat to see what a couple of good queens can do! Their laying ability is absolutely amazing.

Outstanding number of huge pollen baskets rolling in the whole time we were checking the hive. Super calm bees. I'll be interested to see how/if that changes when they are stronger. Both hive have as close to perfectly straight comb as I can imagine them building. We have done zero comb manipulations since install.
 

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Absolutely gorgeous, and what progress your girls have made!

I hope my next inspection proves as thrilling as yours.

And i love that old smoker! Maybe it's not that old, but it does look well used and very beautiful.
 

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JW, i'm just looking more closely at that last picture which so beautifully captures the "stores on top of the frames" that are almost a discernible stripe against the wood. I'm curious about exactly what that "stripe" consists of. In the upper right, there seems to be a collection of clear fluid, which i'm assuming is either nectar or stored syrup? Is that correct? Are the darker cells pollen, or simply nectar that's been cured enough to call it honey? Bee bread, maybe?

I SHOULD know all this, i know, and it's a little embarrassing to ask. But these are the questions of a fledgeling beekeeper! :) I beg your indulgence ...
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
JW, i'm just looking more closely at that last picture which so beautifully captures the "stores on top of the frames" that are almost a discernible stripe against the wood. I'm curious about exactly what that "stripe" consists of. In the upper right, there seems to be a collection of clear fluid, which i'm assuming is either nectar or stored syrup? Is that correct? Are the darker cells pollen, or simply nectar that's been cured enough to call it honey? Bee bread, maybe?

I SHOULD know all this, i know, and it's a little embarrassing to ask. But these are the questions of a fledgeling beekeeper! :) I beg your indulgence ...
It is either nectar or syrup. We haven't fed this hive for probably about two weeks. My assumption is that it's nectar but can't be sure. There are some cells that have darker liquid and the cells they were capping looked like "honey". Otherwise it's pollen in the darker cells. The "empty" cells throughout the capped brood are filled with nectar/syrup and they're a little darker color, but that could be because they're surrounded by solid brood and less light is getting in. If you notice one side of the comb doesn't have capped brood, but it had young larva and eggs. In person it's significantly lighter than the portion that's capped (so they must have fairly recently filled it out. There was a comb in the front that was very yellow on one half and white on the other. Larva in the yellow part and eggs in the white part. It's like she's following them around laying the second they start a cell.

Seems like in the top band it's nectar topmost and pollen under then the brood starts. They do have a comb near the front that is pretty much mostly pollen with some nectar. But in the cells they didn't fill with pollen, she has laid eggs in.

And I'm a new beekeeper too, this is my first year. But I was around when my grandpa and dad were doing it. I just sent a text to my grandma to ask her what year grandpa started and if she knew when he stopped. I don't know when tracheal mites first became a major issue, but I recall dad talking about it and I believe that was the reason they'd quit. They just couldn't keep hives alive.

The smoker had an attachment that grandpa put on the back of the bellows. I assume so that he could hang it on his belt and puff it as needed without having to worry about picking it back up. My brother wears his old painter's coveralls when we inspect. We've reused some of his feeding equipment and there's a few homemade entrance feeders that he made as well. We also use grandpa's hive tool, which is just a piece of flat metal that he bent into an L and sharpened the edges of... He really really really enjoyed his bees. Dad was telling me today that he would never put two new supers on a hive at the same time. Dad said that grandpa had a reasonable explanation of why, but dad suspected it was mostly because it gave him an excuse to go check on them again sooner.

Fond memories of cool fall days spent uncapping honey and spinning frames with the wood burning stove going. His extractor is still in my grandma's basement. If we expand beyond our currently built hives (four 4' top bars with 4 matching 12 bar nucs) we will probably go with Langs and make use of his extractor.
 

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What wonderful exposure to have had as a young child, and how great your grandmother must feel to see all that old equipment put to use again (And your grandmother knows how to text? Good on her!). And thanks for the explanation about the stores. I think understanding the contents of the cells is a skill i'll develop over time. Someone said on another thread here once that you have to "develop the eyes" for spotting eggs. That doesn't seem to be an issue for me, but i'll be darned if i can figure out the difference between honey, nectar, pollen, bee bread, etc. ...
 

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What wonderful exposure to have had as a young child, and how great your grandmother must feel to see all that old equipment put to use again (And your grandmother knows how to text? Good on her!). And thanks for the explanation about the stores. I think understanding the contents of the cells is a skill i'll develop over time. Someone said on another thread here once that you have to "develop the eyes" for spotting eggs. That doesn't seem to be an issue for me, but i'll be darned if i can figure out the difference between honey, nectar, pollen, bee bread, etc. ...
A few hours after I asked, my grandma sent me the following email:
* Hi Jake,* Nears as I can tell, your G'pa started getting interested in beekeeping around 1975.* Ordered bee things from M.C.Berry and Sons from down south.* He ordered 3 pkgs of bees/queen for $70.20 -- in 1985 he ordered pound of bees and bred queen for $19.50 and I found where he had to have single queens sent twice in one year ($5.60 & $4.90).*** I found a notation in an old check stub where I deposited $120 into checking so he could get two bee hives in 1986 -I didn't put much info there so don't know if bees included.* He purchased all new foundation in 1987 but I can remember he didn't use much of it as he burnt it when he was burning the hives as couldn't keep them alive over winter.* It looked like he helped a couple co-workers set up hives and used to go help them work the hives.* There are a*few pics in old albums of his hives on garage roof, 4 out to my Dad's farm, Sue and & Nancy's *red/white/ blue one down along side the garage and a*few pics of swarms he must of captured.* I think at one time your Dad had hives over to his house but wouldn't stay alive there either.* Your Uncle John had hives somewhere in country when he lived in Iowa City, got so many stings one morning before work, had to drive himself to ER for* treatment and never worked bees again.* Don't remember what happened to those bees.* Your Dad remembers going with us to an old beekeeper in Camanche needing help as called his bees 'killers' and believe me*they were mean.* They encased the hive with plastic till they all died.* In time, I*started reacting to stings and your G'pa had to cut my wedding ring*off my finger with a bolt cutter as really nailed me when I accidentally bumped S&N's hive with the lawnmower.** Your g'pa bought 1 complete hive with bees and queen from a keeper in Charlotte is how he got started and then the next year is when he ordered enough bees for 3 hives.* Think at his peak he might have had 7 hives but that was way too much work.* Hope this helps some.* Makes me feel good you and Nick are working bees now.* Love you G'ma Ardean*
 

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"... had to drive himself to the ER for treatment ..."

Oh my gosh, that is but ONE fantastic line in an e-mail made up entirely of fantastic lines! You need to save that for sure.

A bolt cutter! What a visual! I wonder if they ever got the ring fixed ...
 

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"... had to drive himself to the ER for treatment ..."

Oh my gosh, that is but ONE fantastic line in an e-mail made up entirely of fantastic lines! You need to save that for sure.

A bolt cutter! What a visual! I wonder if they ever got the ring fixed ...
She still wears it! It was a simpler time and they were not well off so they both just had plain wedding bands. The only time my grandpa ever took it off was when he had heart surgeries.
 

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gorgeous comb!

That's amazing that your grandmother still has all of that info from 40 years ago! It must give her a lot of pleasure to see you using her husband's equipment. What a wonderful story!
Thank you! And yes, she's very happy. We've been keeping her updated. She can tell us how many catfish we caught on trotlines everyday we ran them during the 90s. She has all that stuff written down on calendars and lots of it in her head.
 
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