Spring Inspection- Interns Return!

Spring Inspection- Interns Return!

This years “inLearnship” is going to be a doozie. We have 8 interns from 2016 that are staying on board for this bee season, working as leaders for the new group of 5 interns that are joining us this year. We are amping up management intensity as we move in to our plans of becoming Alberta’s only treatment free queen producers of Alberta’s less than 5 queen producers in total. Its a big feat, but a worthy one. We hope to select and breed resilient and hearty bees through adaptive selection and integration of VSH and Russian hybrids in to our family stocks to ensure that we have strong, diverse, and hygienic bees. The Interns make this all possible!

We started our Full spring inspections, clean ups, sampling, and feeding of colonies on March 18th with the 2016 crew of interns. Here are the field notes of that day taken by intern Jane Pierce.

“March 18th    First opening of hives and Spring inspection

  1. Opening up hives by lifting top hive off without disrupting inner cover and placing upright rather than tipping the box in order to keep bees as disrupted and as warm as possible. Started with inspecting bottom box and then top box. 
  2. First assessment whether the colony was LIVE or DEAD OUT

If the colony was a DEAD OUT, we did the following

– took a 1/4 cup sample of the dead bees

-took a 3 inch scraping from the wax of a middle frame from both the top and bottom box

-samples will be sent for testing at the National Bee Diagnostic Centre to ensure no disease

– DEAD OUT equipment was put aside and labelled with corresponding bee samples until results come back to know whether it can be used again, needs to be cleaned, or needs to be destroyed.

3) Live colonies – we were observing and noting:

-honey and pollen stores

– size of colony cluster

-brood, eggs, larva if any

-brood pattern

4) What we did to support the colonies:

– we did NOT flip boxes. we left the colony in the top box so that they can stay warm for rest of cold season

-we looked for visible signs of disease like mites and deformed wing

-we dumped all the dead bees and debris off the bottom board and scraped clean

-we added pollen frames on either side of the brood cluster to ensure the babies have enough protein, and added a pollen patty laid on top of the brood frames.

-if the colony had eaten most of their honey reserves we added honey frames stored from last year into the bottom box and on the perimeter of the the top box

– if the top box was still very full of honey we brought up a few empty frames from bottom box to ensure that the queen didn’t become ‘honey bound’ and had frames to lay in in the top box.

-we made notes of each box as to how many of frames of pollen, honey, brood or were empty to use later as we catalog our colonies for breeding.

-we replaced the metallic bubble wrap around the boxes and put back the entrance reducer after the inspection .”

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