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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Drifting?

Ok, I know that I can't open up the hives, but that can't stop me from making exterior visual inspections, right?

So yesterday evening, I went out to the hives, and I noticed that Austeja had very little activity at the entrance while bees were all over Hippolyte. Hippolyte, of course, is the one that actually had bees in her last year, and I'm starting to wonder whether the girls from Austeja, attracted by lingering scents from the old colony, are trying to move in with the folks next door. 

Around 8:45 this morning, only one or two bees were going in/coming out of Austeja, but Hippolyte had a large number of  ladies around the entrance. I grabbed my DH's stethoscope and listened in. There was a gentle buzz from Austeja. Ok, so I know that it has bees. Next, I placed the stethoscope up to Hippolyte. Whoa! The noise from inside was twice as loud as the other hive.

Austeja at 8:45 am. 

Hippolyte at 8:45 am.

It's after 11 now, and thank goodness that the traffic has picked up around Austeja's entrance. However, there's nothing like the movement in the other hive.

In hindsight, I think there are some things I could/should have done differently. 
  • For starters, I installed the packages immediately because they didn't have a syrup can and because of the threat of rain. I should have just spritzed them throughout the day and waited until evening to install them -- this would've given the bees extra time to get used to their new queen's scent.
  • I could've installed one package into Austeja (the "new" hive) first and given them an hour or so to get used to it. After waiting for awhile, I could've then installed the other package into Hippolyte (the "used" hive). Then again, would the bees from Austeja simply have found the other empty, "fragrant" hive and still wanted to move over? I don't know.
  • I could have placed the hives father apart.
I guess this is something I'll just have to keep an eye on. Haven't decided what to do about it yet, though. I think I may wait until I check the queen cages on Thursday. I'd hate to go in there and have them abscond entirely -- especially since there isn't a blessed thing I can do about the "drifting" now. Then, once the stronger hive has some comb and brood, I may pull some bees and comb from it for the weaker hive. I might also switch the placement of the hives around so that returning forages go into the weaker hive and boost their population.

What say you all? What would you do? 


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