Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mating Nucs Update 2

I prepared three nucs with couple of capped brood frames and one queen cell each. When I checked two weeks ago, I saw larvae in only one nuc. So, I thought the queens on other nucs didn't emerge, so I bought an extra queen, Jeremy Rose's russian queen. I installed her in a cage to one nuc.

The day I planned to release her, I opened the hive, pulled out the first frame and saw a queen just in front of my eyes. Usually, I am terrible in spotting the queen. What a luck :)

On the fly, I did a split. I have now 4 nucs, all queens are laying eggs. How exciting this is?

Here are two of these queens and their royal chambers:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mating Nucs Update

I attended a Queen Grafting Class and prepared three mating nucs. I checked these mating nucs, today.

Nuc 1: It turns out that queen hatched, mated successfully and started to lay eggs. I see lots of larvae. It is so exciting to see young brood.

Nuc 2&3: I did not see any brood in other nucs. I had checked the nucs after three days the queens supposed to hatch, and in these two nucs, the queen cell wax was completely torn down. In Nuc 1, which has a laying queen now, I saw the queen cell intact during that inspection.

Since Nuc 1 has some larvae, I followed Serge method: I cut two pieces of comb with young larvae and installed them horizontally with a piece of toothpick into these Nucs 2 and 3.

Nuc 2 even draw a comb with a queen cell. I grafted this queen cell with a young larva from Nuc 1, as well.

Unfortunately, these small nucs are not strong enough to raise good queens. But, this is an experiment at the end. Let's see what will happen...


  • Check the nucs immediate at the day when the queen supposed to hatch to make sure they either hatch or they are destroyed by the colony before hatching.
  • Give each nuc at least couple of queen cells. One queen cell is too risky.
  • Better yet, let the queens hatch in the original hive, protect them with hair rolls and then transfer into the mating nucs.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Failed queen

I was correct about the queen in the hive, where my first swarm is installed. She did not lay eggs for about 2-3 weeks. There was no larva, no new bees. And they missed the period to raise a new queen. So, without an outside queen, they would slowly die. But, I hope I saved it:

I got a box of bees from a fellow beekeeper. That swarm is caught in Fremont. I placed a sheet of newspaper in between, placed a box on top and installed this new swarm on top. Bees will chew up the newspaper and by that time they will get used to each other's pheromones and they will become a big family. I hope the queen came with the swarm will take over the hive.

Here is the hive right after I installed the swarm. There were lots of bees hanging outside and flying around the hive:

It looks like the queen was safely placed inside the box, and I saw few bees fanning in front of the entrence telling the bees outside: "This is our new home, come inside." I saw bees marching in. After 20-25 minutes, they all settled down:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Top Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder

I attended a class on Top Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder this weekeend. It was a hands-on two-days workshop.

Les talked about building an inexpensive topbar hive and keeping bees in it for honey, beeswax, and propolis. Many different topics were touched: hive design, honeybee biology, getting bees going in the hive, comb management for expansion and swarm prevention, harvesting honey, beeswax, propolis, making divides, raising queens, getting ready for winter.

I met with many great people, respecting the nature, bees and advocating for organic non-treatment beekeeping philosophy, which I am totally in.

Les is a great guy, and very passionate for bees and environment. Such a great story teller, full of interesting stories, it's like listening an audio book that you can not give a break.

Check out this website and notice his attitude towards bees:
For the Love of Bees

Thanks to Les for this opportunity and of course signing my book.
Thanks to Julia for organizing this event.
Thanks to Susan for hosting a full class of people in her patio, home and letting us inspecting her wonderful top-bar hives.