A hive of a different color

The Tri-County Beekeepers Association meetings are chock full of information. I have scribbled notes in my Moleskin that I’ll probably decode some day, but one of the tidbits I picked up was that my hives should all be slightly different  so that the bees have visual cues for which one is home. I’ve painted all of my woodenware light cream but it hasn’t really been an issue because this is the first year I’ve had more than one viable hive.Today I wanted to make a “split” – to remove a few frames of brood and eggs (or perhaps even a capped queen cell to make a new queen) and let the bees go on to make a second colony in the new boxes.

I like the Behr “Premium Plus” paint and primer combination for finishing woodenware.  It is acrylic, very durable, dries quickly and is less expensive than buying primer and a finish coat. The Paint Lady at Home Depot was having an extended hoe-down with someone on the phone who wanted to take a class in lead paint removal, and she was being extremely polite to this idiot as she helped me make my paint selection. We had a kind of sign language conversation about how she didn’t stock the dark base paint in quarts, did I want a gallon of dark green, or a quart of something lighter? And that’s how I ended up with a new hive in “Pistachio”. I had a dream last night that Martha Stewart was visiting, and she liked it, as do the bees.

I don’t have any pictures of the interior of the hives as I did the split. I was wearing my full suit and it was 50 degrees and breezy today. Bad enough that when I separated the boxes I exposed brood – I didn’t want to let them sit out long enough to grab the camera. They had been busy. Every frame I pulled was studded with capped queen cells along the bottom – swarming was imminent! I eliminated a few and transported one frame with a capped queen all ready to go to the new (pistachio) hive, with a few frames of food and nurse bees. I blocked most of the entrance with straw and put the feeder on full of syrup. Now I just have to wait, and not disturb them, and see if they “take”. I hope they do. This hive is so sturdy, and so social – I was elbow deep in them today and they never took offense. It would be lovely to have more of them.

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