Yesterday we went on a mite treatment blitz to make the most of a Saturday afternoon. At the last location, we spotted a gigantic five-pound cluster nestled between a lid and a hive. That’s what you see in the image above. Sure enough, we gently pulled back the lid and discovered white worker comb that contained eggs. The queen appeared to belong in the adjacent hive since it was plugging the broodnest with nectar rather than young brood, so I just shook the cluster back into the hive. I’m sure a lot of the bees were attracted to the wayward queen on harvest day when we blow out some of the bees, and that is why there was such a massive population nestled under the lid. At harvest I had switched lids to a rimmed style, and that is why the queen and bees happened to have loose equipment to make their new abode. Luckily it had only been several days since harvest, so there was not advanced brood sacrificed in transplanting the queen and bees back into the hive. There were three new combs attached to this lid, but they were barely visible due to the huge number of bees hanging on them.
We are on the downhill side of harvest season, but the urgency just builds because the bees’ health is so much more precarious with every week that passes prior to mite treatment. Here are a couple of the fun pictures I took as I went around a couple of days ago.
I like this image of my “leaning towers of beesa” up near Central City. Somehow the pallets seemed a lot more level when they were only two boxes high. One of the hives was tall, heavy, and tilted. The honey boxes slid about an inch downhill since the propolis on the excluder heated up on a warm day. Luckily its large crop of surplus honey did not topple down the bank!
I also encountered two boxes that were ending their time in our investment maximization scheme. That is, two old boxes exploded when I pried them off the hive. Here is my favorite: