Friday, May 16, 2014

Ants and burr comb

Our azaleas and bleeding hearts are in bloom.

Since the weather was nice I went out to the Benedictium hive to see what I could do about the ants. I tore out the tall grass under it, but saw no sign of an ant hill. Then I pulled out the mite board and found it swarming with ants attracted to the feed that had dripped onto it. I shook off the ants and held it up to the sun and saw an ant nest inside of it. I cleaned it out, and will not be putting it back into the hive. There was sugar, some pollen, and ant larvae on the board, but no mites. Good!

It was back to the Valentinium today to deal with the burr comb. The weather was rain free, but a bit cool, maybe 60 F. I opened up the hive and took out the feed bucket, still full of sugar water. I scraped off the burr comb and saw larvae in it, so the queen has been up in the upper deep. The bees were quite agitated. I killed at least five of them in all of the scraping and removal; I hope the queen is okay. I laid the burr comb, still covered with bees, on top of the skunk guard above the entrance to the hive. Then I took the lower deep, the brood chamber, off of the base and retrieve the mite board, which had fallen to the bottom of the base. It looked good, no sign of mites. Nor ants!

The burr comb is noticeably yellow, not like the white comb we've pulled out of here before. I wonder what that means?

There were some larvae in some of the burr comb, which I don't recall seeing before. I find that disturbing. The queen should stay in the brood chamber, where she'll be safe!

I put the hive back together, this time with the inner cover upside down between the brood chamber and the feed chamber to discourage burr comb in the feed chamber.

A picture of the new and old burr comb is below. It's easy to see which is which!

I'm leaving the mite boards out of both hives. I think it is a mistake to leave them in routinely.

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