Saturday, April 22, 2006

Night Hiving

I was feeding the bees late yesterday, so that the smell of the sugar water wouldn't start a robbing episode, where the forager bees get all excited and start invading other hives to steal honey, killing each other in the process. Robbing usually happens when there's a lack of adequate nectar, as there is right now, before the main clover bloom. While on my rounds with my 5 gallon buckets of sugar water, i spotted another swarm in the dogwood, So, I did my hiving in the dark routine and put them in the garden apiary. I'm hoping that this swarm was the Purvis queen that was marked blue. That hive was strong enough to swarm. If I'm unlucky, it was a swarm with one of those virgin queens I saw hatched out, and half the hive went with her, leaving a very weak hive behind. Sometimes when there are lots of unmated queens in a hive small swarms will leave with one or more of the virgins. Usually these don't survive. Even knowing this I couldn't kill those queens. I'm too soft to be a 'good' beekeeper. I'm sure I've lost at least 5 swarms this year alone, populating the woods with them. Maybe the survivors will be the beginning of a feral population.

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