Delilah inspection #4: June 10, 2010: This wasn’t really an inspection, more like a quick fix for MISTAKE #4. On my last inspection, there was a lot of honey. Thinking that I was going to have to harvest honey, I put the queen excluder under the second deep hive body since that is where the brood ended and the honey began. My thinking was that the excluder would keep the queen out of the honey boxes so I didn’t have to worry about her when I stole the honey.
Last night I noticed all the bees were hanging out on the front stoop of the hive, more than usual, clumps really. So, suspecting that they were overcrowded, I called Jeff (my new beekeeping mentor and the guy who sold me my bees). Jeff confirmed what I suspected and told me that he doesn’t even use queen excluders, he also told me that I need to change my thinking about the hive. He said not to consider the hive as three boxes on top of each other with one box for brood and two for honey, but to consider the frames individually. And he is right. The bees are pretty organized. They don’t really mix the kitchen with the nursery except to have a few honey cells on the outside of the brood frames for convenience, like a midnight snack on your nightstand.
So with Warren’s help, I took out the queen excluder and gave the bees another medium super. At this point, I can not lift the boxes by myself, so I am glad that the new hive I bought is only mediums and smalls. I’m also glad that my roommate Warren seems to be interested in the bees, or maybe he is just that helpful. I think I will put the other deep I have on the bottom of the new hive once they are established so I never have to lift a deep again. Jeff says that my deep that was full of honey last time I went out, easily weighs 90-100lbs. I believe it. The medium, when full, will weigh about 60lbs.
Jeff also told me that when the bees run out of room for more honey, they get lazy. Now I have only heard of busy bees, never lazy bees, but I guess if someone could make bees be lazy it would be me. And that also explains all the stoop sitting I noticed earlier.
This morning (June 11) there were still a hundred bees or so on the stoop, but not nearly the clumps I had noticed last night. Get back to work Delilah, vacation is over!