Adding Queen Cells to Two Hives

In May, Bethany’s hive, Bamarre, went queenless. They could not queen right themselves so we bought a queen cell to help them along. We also had a queenless nuc, so we bought a queen cell to put in the nuc.

Here is a picture of a queen cell. The orange cages does not allow the bees to tear down the cell.


Here is a picture of a brood frame in the nuc. As you can see there are very few bees or brood in the hive. They are definitely queenless.


We removed all the frames from the nuc and put a brood frame from Mom’s hive to the nuc. The brood frame gave the bees a population boost.


The nuc had laying workers in the hive. So Bethany took the frames up by our garage and shook all the bees off of them. The laying workers are too heavy to fly back to the hive so they die.


Here Mom is adding one of the queen cells to a frame from the nuc.


We put the frame with the queen cell on it right next to the brood frame.


Here Mom and Bethany are looking for a brood frame in Bamarre.


Mom found a great frame.


We put the queen cell on a frame that had brood on it.


We had to wait about a week for the queens to emerge then two more weeks before they started laying.


Inspecting Green Gables with the State Inspector

In early May, Abigail noticed that something did not seem quite right with her hive, Green Gables. We contacted one of the state inspector and he came out to inspect the hive with us.

Here he is looking at a brood frame.

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He immediately noticed the sick looking brood, but thought that they had probably got chilled. Chilled brood is brood that froze to death because the bees could not keep them warm.

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The state inspector said that the brood had just been chilled. The hive should have started to grow in size. The next hive inspection should show a thriving hive.


Building Wax Melter as a 4-H Project.

A wax melter is something I was interested in for a while so finally I chose to build one for a 4-H project. I asked Mr. Sander what he used for wax melters. He showed me his favorite wax melter and gave me suggestions on how to make it better. The wax melter I made was roughly 2 feet by 30 inches.


We picked up wood and I started cutting it with my father’s ever watchful eye on me. I used a table saw to cut the wood.


I put glue in between the wood then I held it tightly together.


Then I drilled a hole in the wood for the screws and twisted a screw into the hole.


Here I am drilling a hole.


After I finished the sides of the box I traced a piece of plywood to the size of the box.


Then I cut the piece of plywood to size.


Next, I added glue to the side so I could attach the bottom.


I drilled holes for the screws so I could attach the bottom. I started in the corners then I did the rest.


I first painted the outside of the wax melter starting in the corners.


I painted three coats of paint.


After I was done painting the outside of the wax melter I let it sit overnight then did the inside.


Here I am doing the second coat.


I also painted another piece of wood that i would use when attaching the plexi-glass.


Here are some of the broken paint brushes. I suggest if you are doing your own wax melter you invest in nice brushes.


Here you can see the plexi-glass is attached.


Here I am hammering a nail into a disposable tin to make holes to strain the wax through. Do this to one pan or get a special grill pan.


I widened the holes with a screw.


Here you can see the broken plexi-glass. Plexi-glass is incredibly brittle especially when cold. You can also see the top pan has an old t-shirt that was cut up in it and wax on top of that. The top pan is the one I put the holes in.


Here is the wax melter in use. I used duct tape as a temporary fix until I got new plexi-glass.


Here is the wax after it went through the wax melter once.


The wax melter got considered for state fair but was not chosen. I am also entering to get a project award for the wax melter.

I am planning on making more to sell at the Central Iowa Beekeepers Association’s Auction in spring.


May 4th Hive Inspection

On May 4th, we inspected our three hives. All three hives had a super on.

Here we are opening up our hives. Bethany helped Olivia inspect her hive, Primlox.


The bees had not done much in the supers at this point.


Here we are starting to look in the deeps.


Abigail’s hive had a lot less bees then she thought it would have.


In this picture, Olivia is cleaning off burr comb from the top of her frames.


Abigail is looking for eggs on this frame.


Here is Abigail, Bethany, and Olivia looking at frames. The frames leaning against the side of Abigail’s hive is empty.


Here is Mom looking at a frame from Maylyn Sorority. Maylyn is looking strong.


Here is a picture of a frame from Abigail’s hive. The brood does not look right on this frame.


This picture shows brood cells with sunken cappings. Sunken cappings can be a sign of sickness.


Here is the same frame without the bees. Most of the capped brood cells have sunken cappings.


Here is the other side of the frame. This side has more dead pupae on it.


Abigail was concerned that her hive had European Foulbrood. (Blogged about here.) Mom thought that it was only frozen brood. To find out for sure, we contacted the state apiarist to see if he could come out and look at the hive. Because the state apiarist is so busy, it took a while for him to come out.


Bees On Rhubarb

Our rhubarb was at its peak in early May and the bees loved it. Many people take off the flowers and seeds so the rhubarb does not waste energy on the seeds but we did not remove them until later.

Here is a bee on one of our rhubarb plants. This was the biggest rhubarb plant we have.

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This is a good picture of the bee’s head.

In this picture you can see the bee’s pollen basket is getting filled.

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Before I saw the bees on the rhubarb I didn’t know they pollinated rhubarb, now I do!

Bethany Kelly