I convinced my husband and neighbor to rebuild them. It was not easy as they really only wanted to build two, but I convinced them that I really needed 4 new hives. My neighbor even built me a small nuc sized hive to hold top bars when I am working in the hives. So many times I need to remove a bar and I had no place to put it. So I balance it on another hive. This is going to make working in the hives so much easier.
Earlier in the week I decided that I needed to paint the outside of the hives. The weather here in Miami can be very difficult with all the rain and humidity. I noticed that in the few months since the hives were built that they were starting to discolor. I think that over time they would warp and not weather well. So, I decided to paint the new hives. I went with a very bright color called Mango Festival. It looks very good with the covers that I painted, since there is a lot of orange in the flowers that I painted on the lids.
The good news is that all four hives are Queen Right for sure!! Hopefully during the transfer all the queens were not disturbed. I was worried that if my hives were not queenright, I would have to look for queens elsewhere. Fortunately my hives look good finally. I heard this week that it has been very difficult to get queens in Florida this year because the weather has been so hot and also very rainy. I am sure that is why it was such a difficult process for the splits to make a new queen. My queens are laying pretty well. Hive number one is still recovering but looking much better. The other hives look great!
My biggest concern in the transfer was lifting the heavy hives onto the cinder blocks. I tried to get a friend to help me but she was not able to. I only had one little difficult moment, they were in fact as heavy as I expected. I think it is a little more difficult moving a 48 inch top bar hive then a 10 frame square langstroth. At least I only have to move and lift the top bar hive one time. With a langstroth lifting heavy supers is something that has to be done all the time. With a TBH you only have to lift one bar at a time, definitely an advantage. While I was moving hive#2 over it tilted and almost fell. I was able to catch it, no broken combs, but the bees really didn’t like it at all. I know you really don’t know my bees, but they can be a little grumpy and temperamental. After the hive fell they definitely became agitated and stung me several times through my gloves. One of the stings was right at the tip of my middle finger. It is pretty swollen and sore tonight. Typing is not that easy, and it is on my left hand which is my dominant hand. My only question in the process is that there are still a few bees lingering in the old boxes. Tomorrow morning I am going to go out and move the old hives before my bees wake and start foraging.
I am going to try to use the old hives in my neighbor’s yard. I really don’t have any more room to expand in my yard, so my neighbor has offered to let me use his yard. We are going to try to adjust the bottom board so they are the same size as the others, and I should be able to expand to several more hives. My neighbor Ilia loves honey, and is willing to let me work the hives and give him a percentage of the honey. I may be able to split my hives one more time during the summer if they continue to do as well as they are doing now. He has a nice little fenced in area that he used to use for his dogs. It gets early morning light, so it is a good location and isolated from the main part of his yard.
Well one more hurdle accomplished. As a new beekeeper anything I have to complete for the first time without a mentor is a little intimidating. Having all my equipment the same size is going to make working my hives so much easier. A big thank you to my neighbor and my husband!!