Cross-comb crisis contained

Crikey! (Sorry, needed to keep the alliteration going a little longer)

I opened up my hive yesterday to check on their cross-combing, and it looks like it’s under control. No comb between frames at the moment, and no comb even stretching toward any adjacent frames.

It does, however, look like they’re still kind of building around the comb that I hung back in place with rubber bands. My first guess was that I hung it upside-down (comb cells have a downward slope built into them, to prevent nectar/pollen/babies from falling out), but it doesn’t look like that’s the case, so I’m not sure what’s going on. I thought about just cutting that part out, but they’re actually using it, so… shrug. I might cut the edges to encourage them to merge it with the rest of the comb on the frame. I have no idea if that’s a thing that will work, but I could see how it would (and how it wouldn’t. Who knows?).

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures this time. I need to come up with a good way to take photos. It’s a pain to set things down, pull out my phone, take pictures, etc. Whatever I come up with will probably involve a tripod and a voice-activated-camera app for my phone … or roping someone else into suiting up and coming out to take pictures during my inspections.

I did, however, get another slow-motion video of the hive entrance the other day, so I’ll share that. I really want to add a “Ride of the Valkyries” soundtrack to it, but I think it’s okay on its own, too.

Anyhow, I figured, “While I’ve got the hive open, I should do a full inspection”, so I went through each frame, checking brood patterns and looking for the queen. I did not manage to find the queen (imagine if Where’s Waldo had nothing but Waldos, and you were trying to find the one that was about 50% taller than the rest, wearing blue slacks instead of jeans), but there was capped brood everywhere. Wherever she is, she is an egg-laying machine (thanks, Noble Apiaries). There was a decent number of empty brood cells (so, larvae that had finished growing into adult bees and emerged from their capped cells, ready to work); probably 3/4 of a medium frame’s worth. Other than that, though, every other frame was probably 75% capped brood, with maybe 5% capped honey in the corners, and pollen, nectar, and fresh eggs rounding out the rest of the cells.

The sheer amounts of brood is a good thing, but I’m a little worried that they aren’t going to have room for nectar/honey. They’ve started building comb on one of the new frames I gave them, but not much, yet. The frame is maybe 10% built. I’m considering feeding them some more to encourage comb building, but I like the idea of letting them set their own pace, naturally, based on what’s available, forage-wise. Michael Bush is a big proponent of just staying out of your bees’ way and letting them do what they’re built to do. Makes sense to me.



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