|You can tell it's July in Alabama|
On to today. I actually dreamed about my bees last night. I think I'm officially a beekeeper now. So, I did a full check on all the hives today; just to see how everyone is doing. In the outyard, the hive that swarmed last did not successfully requeen and has been overtaken by SHB. It sucks, but it's too late in the season to be throwing good resources after the bad. I'll treat the ground with a drench once it gets dark to keep the problem from spreading to the other hive. Speaking of the other outyard hive, the queen has really started laying well. They seem to be bringing in a little nectar from somewhere.
In the backyard, the dark green nucs are looking....okay. One half cast a swarm a few weeks back as best I can tell. I didn't see a queen, or eggs/larvae, in the hive today, but they didn't act queenless. I'll give them another week or two and if I don't see anything then I'll combine them with the other half. Speaking of that other half, they have a queen, but look like they might be in the process of impeaching her. I saw the queen, but also saw a sealed queen cell.. If they aren't happy then I'm not happy and I'm going to let them do their thing.
In the Auburn nuc, both halves look fantastic. So much so that I ended up going through every frame to make sure they weren't making any plans to swarm. I didn't see anything. I think it's getting too late in the year for them to really have the urge to do that, but I thought that two weeks ago too and lost two swarms.
All of the full-sized hives looked good too. Everyone has a queen and eggs/larvae/brood. Everyone actually seems to have pretty good stores of nectar too. I'll probably have to feed the nucs a little, but the full sized hives are okay right now. As long as it rains more than it did last year and goldenrod doesn't fail again, we should be on track for minimal feeding this fall. Woo hoo! I'm pretty sure that the girls at the grocery store thought I was making moonshine last year with all the sugar I had to buy.
Finally, I went out to look at a removal for a friend of a friend. Neither one of them knew anything about bees, or exactly what they were looking at so they couldn't tell me what kind of job it was going to be. So, I pack up all the stuff for a cut out, a trap out, and a swarm removal. I get there and find out that the neighbor had bought the house a few months ago. The previous owner had two beehives and had only removed the hives two weeks ago. These were the stragglers that were left behind. They had become defensive so that the new owner couldn't even get out and work in his garden. There was also a MASSIVE SHB infestation on the wooden siding of the out building that one of the hives had been sitting on. When I first looked at it, I was almost sure that it was going to be a cutout because bees were covering the siding in one place. When I started brushing them aside I found hundreds of SHBs. It was absolutely disgusting. On the bright side, I got to play with my bee vac. It definitely needs some tweaking. So all-in-all, even though I don't want these bees anywhere near my yard, it was a good experiment. I left a cardboard nuc box with baited frames to pick up the bees that I couldn't vacuum up and I'll go get them next weekend. I feel bad letting the bees die, but I figure that if the SHB problem was that bad then they are probably suffering from mite infestation too.