A Tale of Two Hives

It was the best of hives, it was the worst of hives. Today’s inspections of Queens Rosemary and Rue were on completely different ends of the spectrum.

As I previously mentioned, I switched over to pail feeders in an attempt to reduce small hive beetles and make it easier on myself to add syrup when needed. My first stop was at Sunshine Community Gardens to check on Queen Rosemary to verify her release and see how the girls were taking to their new home.

I know something was wrong as I started to take off the inner cover.


The girls decided to build comb from the top of the inner cover around the feeder instead of on the frames. This is what I had to deal with today.

Queen Rosemary failed.

I was forced to remove all this wax and get the bees into the super with the frames. I also never saw Rosemary so I can only hope she is still in there even though I feel like Gitanjali and I looked at every single bee inside and outside the hive. I ran home and got my old top hive feeder so I could feed the bees without having a repeat of the same situation. It stinks that I lost a week of comb building, but hopefully I got this hive back on track.

As I was driving down to Baab-Brock Farms, I was anticipating the exact same situation with Queen Rue and was dreading opening her hive. Luckily, Rue is awesome and they actually built comb on the frames like good little bees. Our cheering startled the chickens in the coop it was so loud.

Good bees!

Here is a shot of nice drawn out comb with eggs and an empty queen cage.

Queen Rue Released!

Even though I didn’t have errant comb issues on this hive, I still switched over to the old top hive feeder. I didn’t want to tempt fate and end up dealing with another mess.

I know you aren’t supposed to play favorites, but Rue gets my vote this week.


Filed under beekeeping

9 responses to “A Tale of Two Hives

  1. Emma Lou

    Do they react to severe atmospheric changes?

  2. Oh dear, what naughty bees! They really did well at comb building in a week.

  3. We’re about to install packages tomorrow and were planning to use the pail feeder method. Any idea why the bees built from the inner cover? I’m not sure how we’d even go about dealing with that!

    • What kind of pail feeder are you using? I decided to try out the Collins Ultimate Bee Feeder where you put the pail directly on the frames. Some other pail feeders have you put the opening on top of the inner cover. After my disaster, I saw that some folks recommend filling the empty super where you place the feeder with crumpled up newspaper to fill the empty space and prevent them from building comb.

      • We’re using something similar to the Collins for our packages. Did you try the newspaper yourself too? I think we will try that after seeing your pic (thanks for sharing!)

      • I did not use newspaper, but knowing what I know now, I would probably give that a try. I can’t see it really doing any harm, and if it prevents the situation I had, it would be worth it.

  4. loriemarrero

    Wow, we never had that problem in our two hives with using the Collins feeders! I do see the wisdom in using the newspaper.

  5. Robert

    I’m using a collins type feeer I made myself and have had no problems with it . I set it on top of the inner cover.

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