Bees coming in on the landing board
The hive was getting very crowded, with 8 frames entirely built out, so today I added the second brood box. The colony should build out 10 new frames much faster than they did the previous 9 ones, because there are many more bees now, and the colony is growing every day.
I also replaced the full bottom board with a screened one, which will improve ventilation over the next couple of months. This bottom board has an added feature. It has a slot for a board that slides in through the rear of the hive (handy, because I won’t have to disturb the bees). On that board I put a sticky board to trap all the mites that fall off the bees. If you have a full bottom board, mites can just crawl back up again. If you have a screened bottom board, they fall onto the ground and can’t make it back, but you also can’t count them. I will return in 3 days to see how many have fallen onto the sticky board, and I’ll be able to do an assessment of the mite population in my hive.
I wanted to build this bottom board myself, but with DH away for a conference I couldn’t figure out which of our vast array of power tools to use (and how), and the colony couldn’t wait until he gets back. So over the weekend Amie and I drove to a beekeepers supply warehouse, where I stuck strictly to my shopping list, and I bought this thing. I wish now I hadn’t forgotten to photograph its ins and outs, so I could reproduce it…
In order to put this new bottom board on, I had to lift the first, filled brood box and put it aside, and I was surprised at its weight. Inspections will get harder from now on. Imagine moving and inspecting two brood boxes, three honey supers…
One of the neatest thing with this hive manipulation was the honey bee – bumblebee fight. Just as I arrived, a big fat bumble was approaching the hive – they try to get in and rob the nectar and honey. A guard bee was warning it off. I grabbed my camera and took some pictures. Not the best – it was cloudy – but it gives an impression of the situation:
The honey bee gets her stinger into the bumblebee!
The bumble bee managed to get the writhing bee off her, then beat a retreat. The bee of course perished right there. What a saga!