Three weeks ago I opened my bee hive for the first time this season. I had seen activity in the hive and knew that they were at least alive, but I didn’t know the condition of the hive.
I don’t have the best track record thus far with keeping a colony alive and on my farm, so I wasn’t expecting too much when I opened up the hive.
I have to say I was a little less than excited to see only one comb of brood and a little honey in the hive. I had high hopes of having a strong colony that needed to be split so that I could learn how to split hives and then also have 2 colonies instead of 1. My colony had survived but had not thrived.
Fast forward to last week. My husband was working on a road just outside of New Harmony ( a small town 15 miles from our farm), and when he came back down through town that afternoon he found some arborists with a big log in the road. He stopped to ask what was going on with the tree and they told him there was a bee hive in it and they didn’t know who to call.
My husband then called me and I was able to go with the county bee inspector to collect the hive. When we got there the hive was still abuzz with activity and it seemed like the hive was strong.
We cut the log open lengthwise and exposed the hive. Inside we found huge combs of brood but very little honey. There were so many bees! We then took empty frames and used rubber bands to place the comb into the empty frames.
We worked to collect the bees with a vacuum and by placing the hive box containing the frames with their honey comb in it near the log. The bees would then smell the hive and be attracted to the hive box. This worked rather well. Many of the bees were still trying to get back into the old hive by the knot that was the former entrance, so we shook off as many bees as we could and then put that part of the log through the wood chipper.
With no where else to go the bees began to find their way into the new hive. We left the hive box in place until evening when I transported it back to the farm. So far it is alive with activity and when I inspected it today there were eggs and young larva in some of the comb! It should prove to be a healthy and thriving hive!
As for my hive that overwintered here on the farm, it too is thriving! I found the queen bee in it today! Usually I just have to look for eggs and young brood to know that she is still in there, but today I found her! For the first time! I was so excited! There were several frames with brood and honey! I now have 2 thriving hives! Lets hope we can harvest some honey this year!