It is time to post and update on the trapout. As with most things in beekeeping, if this fails it is going to be my fault. I had some non-beekeeping things come up last week in addition to work and some poor weather. The trapout got neglected. It was certainly working at least initially. I was checking it daily on the way home from work. Then five days went bye.
What’s the worst that could happen? You are about to find out. On 5/18 the TOB was retrieved and moved to the home apiary. The frames in the TOB were transferred to a hive body. The queen could not be found, but that is not surprising since I have trouble with that all the time. The frame that was next to the escape funnel had been drawn down to the point that the comb was flush with the end of the escape. I believe this made it possible for the queen as well as all the other bees to negotiate the escape and get back into the block wall. Not a good sign. I have no pictures or video of the actual transfer because I destroyed my tripod on 5/17.
Since I am poor at finding the queen I decided to keep the transferred bees in the apiary. Several hours later I walked over to observe them from a distance, probably 20-30 feet. There was very little in and out traffic. Bees were milling around on the bottom board acting as if they didn’t know what to do. One took flight and headed right for me. I then heard another on its way, but couldn’t see it. I removed my hat, covering my face just as I heard the bee hit it. I don’t particularly enjoy getting stung on the face, not only because of the pain. My eye(s) swell shut and EVERYONE asks if my wife finally “popped” me one. It seems as though a lot of people are aware of how patient she is with me.
My bees can get a little irritable particularly during a dearth. I haven’t been around other people’s apiarys enough to gauge the temperament of my girls compared to others. This type of aggression is out of the ordinary except in instances when I have had a queenless hives. Under queenless conditions there was one hive in 2010 that Pinhead would have run away from screaming. I am unsure if the bees would even understand after four or five hours that they had no queen. Maybe they were just irritable due to the move. I just don’t know yet. That hive will be checked today to look for her and/or eggs and young larvae.
For now I am going to fear the worst because that is what comes natural to me. I plan to keep the moved bees going for at least a while by adding eggs and open brood from other hives. The TOB was returned to the wall. Process improvements are already underway. It is important that I not go more than two or three days without checking on the the bees in the TOB. They were only drawing comb on the escape side of the box. It is if they were somehow aware of how to get around the dumb beekeepers plan to trap them. As comb is being drawn and getting close to the escape, an empty frame from the opposite side of the TOB will be removed. Then I will slide all of the frames away from the escape reinserting the empty frame in the slot that is created. It is hoped that this will keep the escape from failing.
Your move trap-out bees!!!!
What do you think? Any advice for me? Anything I didn’t fully explain? Hit the comments section.
I am sorry if the math problems to post comments cause anyone difficulty. Over the weekend I got several hundred spam comments and had to do something.