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September Field Day 2015

It was a nice clear day and a little chilly, in the low 60's, but down in the gravel pit where the hives are, it is sheltered and was actually quite pleasant. The biggest problem was that the propolis is very tough on cooler days. We started with our small split. It had some drone brood in front of the entrance that the bees had pulled out, I assume to make room for worker brood or honey. Inside they had filled most of the bottom box and at least seven frames on the top box. They were calmly working. We found young open brood and were satisfied that the queen is there and well. The drones in the hive are all dark, which leads me to believe our queen is a Carnolian, though I haven't actually seen her. Since the drones only get the queen's DNA, they will be whatever she is. Workers can be whatever the drone father was, so they can be Italians, Carnolians or whatever is in the local drone pool. This hive will need a box of honey from one of the other hives for winter because they won't have enough time to make enough for themselves.

The picture above is the smaller early split. It was filled to the top, the top box full of honey, mostly capped except the very edges of the last frames. It has only four boxes, so in the picture we are giving a mostly empty box from the hive next door to it, so it can fill it up if it so desires. It has enough honey for the winter, but we need some for the little hive, so any extra they store, we can share.

The hive next door, the overwintered insulated hive had six boxes. The top one was mostly empty, as I said, so we gave it to the hive next door. The next one down was half full and the one below it was completely full, so that hive is also good for the winter with room to spare. Next month we will re-arrange the honey stores so the small hive has enough for winter.

Next we checked the long hive. They have been very busy propolizing everything to everything. The top cover was glued down to the inner covers and the inner covers were glued to the hive itself. Because it was cooler, it took a fair amount of prying to get it open, which the bees did not appreciate very much. They had a nice population, filling over 2/3 of the hive. We didn't hang around in there very long because the ladies weren't happy with us. We closed it up, satisfied that it has good honey stores and acts strong and queen-rite, which is what we were looking for this month.

Next month we will wrap the hives for winter, apply mouse guards and make sure everyone has adequate honey and good ventilation for winter.

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