Beginning the Second Year of Beekeeping

I went out to the community garden yesterday to get things set up for two new packages I am getting next Saturday. The hive that survived winter is doing great and I am going to make a split from it since its bubbling over with bees. I cleaned out the hive that didn't make it and see they starved to death. It was very sad, the queen and maybe a dozen bees were stuck to a frame near the top, most of them with their heads in the cells. They had honey around them and fondant on top, and there were bees that died while chewing their way out of their cells. Not certain what else I could have done for them considering the food was available.  I believe they possibly just didn't have enough bees and were harmed too much by the varroa mite.  In the fall I could see bees with deformed wing virus on frames from this hive, as well as mites visible on adult bees.  Not good signs from the one hive that didn't have any issues during the warm and cool months of my first year.

The unfortunate inhabitants of this hive starved.  Here are the bees frozen how they died.  The queen has the white mark on her.

Above is Queen Isabella, with the white mark, frozen in place with the last few of her attendents.

With all of the issues I had last year regarding drifting I also decided mark the deeps that the bees will be using as brood chambers for the new hives and the dead out so they are easier for the bees to identify.  I ended up making stencils of some of my geckos and using spray paint to mark the hive bodies.  Hopefully they help the bees remember which hive home is!

Laura shows off the new paint scheme of the hives while trying on a beesuit

Laura shows off the new paint scheme of the hives while trying on a beesuit

So with that, I have 1 good hive and will be starting up 2 new ones with packages and 1 with a split. I plan to give the new packages each a deep of drawn comb from the dead hive and let the split draw out foundation on 5 new frames.  Hopefully that gets them all off to a great start this year after a very mild winter. 

 

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